Free KFC and phone credit at downtown Kingston vax drive today
Asha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
Organisers of a COVID-19 vaccination drive in downtown Kingston are seeking to entice Jamaicans to roll up their sleeves by dangling helpings of free fried chicken and cellphone credit.
The campaign, forged among fast food chain KFC, telecom Flow, and the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA), is the latest initiative geared towards firing up interest amid concerns that fewer than 14 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.
The vaccination drive coincides with the expiry of more than 150,000 doses of AstraZeneca that are doomed for the dumpster — a telling metaphor of Jamaica's below-par inoculation programme that's targeting 65 per cent herd immunity by March 2022.
Organisers are optimistic that offering free KFC meals and Flow credit giveaways will get some persons to abandon their hesitancy.
Maria Myers-Hamilton, managing director of the SMA, said that the organisation considered it part of its corporate social responsibility to reach out to residents of downtown Kingston's many inner-city communities.
SMA, which is located in the heart of central Kingston, said that chicken and cell phone credit were staples in poor households that are already buckling under the pandemic.
“I know a number of people are suffering in silence in the inner city ... . Food is not something that we take for granted [or] credit,” Myers-Hamilton told The Gleaner in an interview on Saturday.
“The average man is suffering, the children are suffering ... so we are just trying to make a difference in our community."
Myers-Hamilton said that persons who turn out for the jab will be able to listen music and watch a football game on a big-screen television while waiting to be seen.
“Jamaican people are a social people ... so we are trying to combine everything together to make it reality,” she said.
The vaccination drive has been themed 'Come tek di juk'.
With vaccine-or-PCR test mandates emerging in the private sector and the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operationalisation Task Force lobbying for a similar thrust for public-sector workers, Myers-Hamilton said the SMA will follow the lead of the Government of Jamaica.
She said, however, that citizens should take personal responsibility in protecting themselves in the midst of the pandemic.
“COVID is still a reality. We have to tackle this beast and try to get people on board so that we can go back to normality,” said the SMA managing director.
“I just think that people need to have a conversation rather than having it forced upon you. If we get most of the population vaccinated, then we are protecting others."
The SMA is an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology. It is located at 13-19 Harbour Street in Kingston.
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