Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Carib Cement undertaking staff vaccination drive

Published:Wednesday | August 4, 2021 | 2:40 PM
Nurse Oneka Murray (left) administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Olivia Wright during a vaccination drive for staff of the Caribbean Cement Company at the Girl Guides Association headquarters in St Andrew on August 4, 2021 – Ian Allen photo.

David Salmon/Gleaner Writer 

Caribbean Cement Company Limited has launched a vaccination drive among its staff as a part of the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative (PSVI) pilot programme.

The PSVI is a partnership among the Government, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and aims to increase the vaccination rate among the country's workforce.

Caribbean Cement is one of 14 companies participating in the pilot programme that is targeting 1,200 persons.

Chad Bryan, communications and social impact coordinator at Caribbean Cement, revealed that an estimated half of the company's 213 employees have expressed an interest in being vaccinated.

In total, 60 persons were vaccinated during the first day of the drive today.

“Health and safety are pillars of Carib Cement... so we are extending that here today to ensure that our employees are healthy and safe so that they can be protected against the virus,” he told The Gleaner.

Andre Haynes, health and safety coordinator at Caribbean Cement, shared that his reason for taking the vaccine is to protect family members, including his wife and young daughter, from contracting the virus.

Additionally, COVID-19 has also impacted him personally.

“Currently, there is someone very close to me who is in the hospital who has been on oxygen for the last two weeks. Seeing these experiences, I think we have to learn from each other and make the right decision,” said Haynes.

“We really need to look deep down inside and weigh the pros and the cons and I think right now the pros far supersede the cons that are out there. This virus is very real. Most persons don't believe until someone very close to them has either contracted it,” he added.

For Ingrid McKenzie, it has been a journey to getting to the point of taking the vaccine.

“At first I had refused because I did not like the technology being used, MRNA, and the vaccine that was coming here is AstraZeneca,” she remarked, adding that the concern surrounding bloodclots weighed heavily on her mind.

However, after consulting with friends living overseas who took the vaccine and experienced no symptoms, McKenzie was assured that taking the shot was the right decision.

She took her first shot in order to play her part in building herd immunity and protecting a relative who could not take the vaccine due to comorbidities.

“I said to myself that if the virus continues to exist it is going to mutate into various different forms and it is going to get worse so if everyone cooperates and take the vaccine, then you will have herd immunity and we can all get back to normalcy,” she said.

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