Jamaica Gleaner – WITH 93.7 percent of the population yet to get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, Jamaica’s rate of inoculation remains worryingly low.
New data released by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) shows that, up to June 23, a total of 98,057 Jamaicans, or 3.6 percent of the population, have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 2.7 percent or 74,229 Jamaicans now fully vaccinated.
The new figures contradict an earlier report by the Director of Family Health services in the Health Ministry, Dr. Melody Ennis, in which she suggested that more 220,000 Jamaicans had received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
Nonetheless, the new data, contained in a report titled COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage and Effect on COVID-19 Transmission, Jamaica 2021, suggests that of the total number of vaccinated persons, 12.6 percent of persons 80 years and over have been fully vaccinated, while 7.8 percent of this cohort have only received a first dose.
Government has tried to coax seniors to take the jab, with a $10,000 grant announced recently for those who are fully vaccinated. The initiative takes effect on July 15.
Of the current priority group (50-59) 4.6 percent have been fully vaccinated, with 5.9 percent only getting the first dose, according to MoHW data.
This compares to 2.3 percent in the 40-49 age group who have been fully vaccinated and 4.4 percent in the same category who have only received their first dose.
Just 1.1 percent of the age group 20-29 has been fully vaccinated, with 2.7 percent receiving their first dose, the Ministry said.
Jamaica remains one of the least vaccinated populations in the English-speaking Caribbean, behind countries such as Barbados (23 percent), St Kitts and Nevis (22 percent), Guyana (13 percent), St Lucia (12 percent), the Bahamas (six percent) and Trinidad and Tobago (four percent). Up to April this year, Jamaica was ranked 84th of 157 nations listed in the New York Times global tracker.
As a global shortage of COVID-19 vaccines worsens, the local vaccination programme has been hit with hiccups and logistical glitches, with some persons turning up to vaccination sites in the last week unable to secure their second doses.