AFJ, PSVI partner for community vaccination days
United States-based non-profit American Friends of Jamaica Inc. (AFJ) has partnered with the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative (PSVI) to implement a vaccination programme that targets vulnerable communities.
Using data from the UWI-based Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI), the entities have identified 10 such communities, in various parishes across the island, and have already begun executing vaccination days in these locations.
Along with other vulnerability markers such as the number of co-morbid residents and access to healthcare, the MGI findings profiled communities by rates of vaccination and distance from vaccinations sites to identify communities spread across Kingston and St Andrew, Clarendon, St Catherine and St James.
So far, the partners have provided vaccinations for Corporate Area residents in communities such as Maverley, Jones Town, Trench Town and Fletchers Land, where along with support from Wisynco and Best Dressed Chicken, more than 800 residents were vaccinated.
“The AFJ remains committed to our goals of ensuring we improve access to vaccination for all. We are pleased to partner with the PSVI at this time to go to these communities where the vaccination rates are low and the risks of severe illness and hospitalisation from the COVID-19 virus are high,” said AFJ president Wendy Hart.
“The PSVI has been working with corporate entities and the Ministry of Health and Wellness for several months now and have demonstrated strong competence and efficiency in moving vaccination exercises around from one location to the next. As such, we are confident that this partnership will yield the desired results and that we will have many more Jamaicans protected from this deadly disease by the time we are finished,” Hart continued.
For its part, the PSVI will implement a pre-vaccination education and mobilisation effort, which will leverage the networks of stakeholder groupings such as women's and community groups, religious organisations, trade unions and the medical association of Jamaica (MAJ), to help raise awareness among residents of the targeted communities and to ensure the vaccine safety concerns are addressed toward a meaningful take-up of vaccines.
“Pre-vaccination engagement is very important to the success of any Vax Day exercise,” stated Saffrey Brown, PSVI project lead.
“We have seen that work very effectively with the corporates we have served over the last three months and it is a well known strategy for securing the involvement of residents for community activities. So our strategy involves working with a wide network of stakeholders such as churches, youth groups and women's groups who are able to connect directly with their members ahead of the vaccination day, help facilitate sensitisation and support that will ultimately impact the overall take-up of vaccines on vax day,” Brown added.
These community vaccination days are scheduled to run into December.
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