Mon | Sep 27, 2021

Get on board with COVID vaccination, Davis tells anti-vaxxers

Published:Wednesday | August 4, 2021 | 12:06 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Nurse Nadine Rowe administers the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Thaddeus Blight, who was encouraged by his wife, Veronica, to get vaccinated. Scores of persons turned out on Saturday at Denbigh Primary School to receive their first or second dos
Nurse Nadine Rowe administers the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Thaddeus Blight, who was encouraged by his wife, Veronica, to get vaccinated. Scores of persons turned out on Saturday at Denbigh Primary School to receive their first or second dose during the vaccination blitz.
Three generations of Kirpalani family members turn up at the National Arena to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during the Vaccination Blitz on Saturday. They are (from left) Siya Kirpalani, 18 years old; her mother, Divya Kirpalani; and her grandmother, Jyo
Three generations of Kirpalani family members turn up at the National Arena to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during the Vaccination Blitz on Saturday. They are (from left) Siya Kirpalani, 18 years old; her mother, Divya Kirpalani; and her grandmother, Jyoti Kirpalani.
1
2

WESTERN BUREAU:

Homer Davis, state minister in the Ministry of Local Government, has taken a swing at anti-vaxxers who are resisting inoculation with any COVID-19 vaccines, urging them to support the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ ongoing efforts to vaccinate Jamaica’s population against the virus.

“I say to the anti-vaxxers, please get on board. The Government is pulling out all the stops to make sure that by the end of September, we should have close to 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine here in Jamaica, and we are dealing with the age cohort from 18 up, so there is no excuse,” Davis said while addressing Sunday’s annual Independence church service at the Maldon Baptist Church in Maldon, St James, held to commemorate this year’s Emancipation and Independence celebrations under the theme ‘Stronger Together’.

“We have had over 53,000 persons contracting the virus, and there is still no end in sight. The Government is doing its part, and we as citizens must do our part ... you can make the difference, if we all take the vaccine,” Davis added, referencing the 53,237 total COVID-19 cases which Jamaica has recorded since March 2020. “I urge you to join the Ministry of Health in encouraging the anti-vaxxers among us to come forward [for inoculation], because the vaccine protects you against the virus.”

That call came days after Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who has previously criticised the anti-vaccination movement, indicated that different protocols may have to be employed for persons who knowingly refuse to take the vaccine despite being eligible, as opposed to those who cannot take it due to underlying health issues.

Davis also urged people to stop breaching the current Disaster Risk Management Act, which presently includes an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew from Mondays to Saturdays and a 3 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Sundays as part of efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

“I must issue a word of caution to those of us who continue to breach aspects of the Disaster Risk Management Act and to believe that they are above the law. No one is above the law, so I would issue a word of caution to please stop it, because we all need to work together to cross the pandemic hurdle that we have here,” said Davis.

Bishop Conrad Pitkin, the custos of St James, likewise took the opportunity during Sunday’s service to urge citizens not to seek reasons to avoid taking the vaccine.

“If the vaccine can prevent hospitalisation, serious illness, and untimely death, can anybody give me a reason why it should not be taken? I cannot find one. All I ask is for the anti-vaxxers to speak the truth,” said Pitkin.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is looking to administer 150,000 of the 300,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses which were recently received from the United Kingdom, during the first week of its vaccination programme which started on Saturday.