JN Ombudsman Urges Women to be Advocates for the Environment

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation and member ombudsman, The Jamaica National Group, is urging more women to assume roles as advocates of the environment, citing their increased vulnerability to climate change.

“What we have found at The JN Group is that the spirit of advocacy that lives in women still thrives, but we need to nurture it some more. We need to encourage women to speak up and say what their truth is regardless of how popular or unpopular it is,” she said.

She was addressing the International Women’s Day Luncheon organised by the United Way of Jamaica under the theme, Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. The event was held recently at the AC Hotel in Kingston.

She emphasised that climate change is real and affecting the economic livelihood of many persons, but especially  women, who she underscored, are more vulnerable and, therefore, negatively impacted by rising temperatures and their subsequent influence on sea level rise and more extreme and frequent climatic phenomena.

“The statistics over the years have shown that when there are huge natural disasters, the larger the event the more women will die, the greater the difference between the number of male victims than female victims and what that suggests is that most vulnerable groups are women,” she pointed to global statistics.

According to data from the UN, up to 70 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion poor are women and girls, and 40 per cent of the poorest households in urban spaces are led by single women. They also responsible for up to 80 per cent of food production and own less than 10 per cent of land, which makes them more vulnerable to the effects of climate change globally.

In Jamaica, although marginally more males are considered poor than women, female-headed households are poorer than those headed by men, according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). Similarly, the Caribbean Policy and Research Institute notes that three in four adults in Jamaica’s poorest communities are women, several of whom are leaders of their households, and their plight has been worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic, which Ms Allen points to as evidence of their worsened vulnerability.

Ms Allen said despite the vulnerabilities experienced by women and girls, their voices are underrepresented, which she said also means that their extensive knowledge of the environment and resource conservation is untapped.

She pointed out that The Jamaica National Group has been encouraging advocacy through the JN Circle- a network of service clubs for JN Members that focuses on building community resilience across the 14 parishes where the clubs are located.

“We launched the JN Circle, and we have 18 JN Circle chapters across the island, and they work together as clubs to create change for something that is happening in their community and we fund it if the proposal is sustainable,” she said.

Through the JN Circle, the members have undertaken projects that build social infrastructure and strengthen community capacity. She said that in this experience, they found the popular notion to be true that women and girls are responsive and become natural champions for community issues.

The JN Foundation general manager informed that these clubs are working to make change in the communities across the island. Some of these advocacy issues include: intimate partner violence; meditation and keeping the peace, among other areas.

She also informed that through the Water Adaptation Project, which was recently concluded, women were integral in being encouraged in the use of water adaptation technologies to address water management issues related to climate change in Jamaica.

The project, which was launched in 2017, is a joint collaboration between the JN Bank, the JN Foundation, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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Close to 1,200 Vaccinated, as JN Foundation Continues Immunisation Efforts

Close to 1,200 Jamaicans have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine through the efforts of the JN Foundation, as the country heads into the busy Christmas season.

“Restrictions have been loosened, in an effort to spur economic activity during this period, but at the same time, we recognise that this may lead to an increase in infections, especially in light of the emergence of a new variant. Therefore, we are very pleased with the response to immunisation efforts since October 1,” commented Claudine Allen, general manager, JN Foundation.

Her comments come on the heel of another successful drive under the Foundation’s Immunise… Save Lives campaign, which took place at the Central High School in May Pen, Clarendon on December 8. Exactly 502 persons received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine during the exercise. 

Immunise… Save Lives campaign has so far targeted rural parishes, where vaccination rates are lowest and the incidence of COVID-19 been high since the pandemic in March 2020. Four drives have been conducted so far in Westmoreland, Manchester and Clarendon, which all have less than 25 per cent of their populations receiving at least one dose of a vaccine, although these parishes have had the fourth, third and fifth highest incidence of COVID-19 infections. 

Claudine Allen (centre), general manager of the JN Foundation, makes a point to Michael Bent (left), chief executive officer of the Southern Regional Health Authority and Dr Kimberley Scarlett Campbell, medical officer of health for Clarendon. They were in May Pen, Clarendon at the Central High School, where the JN Foundation was hosting its fourth immunisation drive on December 8. More than 500 people were vaccinated during the event.

The Foundation has also supported at least one vaccination drive in the Corporate Area, lending assistance to the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights on December 4 at the Maverley Primary and Junior High School, where 110 more residents of Maverley received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“If we get more of our people vaccinated, then the impact of any fourth wave of the virus will not be as crippling to our healthcare system and economy,” Ms Allen reasoned. “We need to get back to good old Jamaican life if we are going to achieve our development goals.”

Persons sign-up for a vaccination incentive provided by the JN Foundation during an immunisation drive at the Central High School in May Pen Clarendon on December 8. The Foundation, through partnership with its sister JN member organization, JN Money, is providing $2,500 to 200 people who receive a first or second dose of a COVID-19 each month, from October 1 to December 31. The funds are placed on a JN Money remittance card that can be used as a debit card locally.

She reiterated that the Foundation will be maintaining its message, as it moves to other parishes and continues with its public education via radio and online, in addition to the immunisation drives. The organisation will return to the Bishop High School on December 15 to administer first or second doses of Pfizer vaccines only.

“We want every Jamaican to deeply understand that protecting themselves is an act of love for their families and for their country, therefore, we will continue with our message and our efforts,” she said.    

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JN Foundation Offers Grant Funding For Community Projects

The JN Foundation through the JN Circle is inviting members to submit proposals for projects which will improve their communities; and to access grant funding of up to J$1.5 million, to address issues related to health and safety; education and sports development, at the community level.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the Foundation was working in collaboration with the JN Circle to implement the projects. The deadline for the proposals is November 30.

For proposals to be considered, they must have the following criteria: projects must fit within the themes/focal areas; must be sustainable and impactful; should have measurable and realistic outcomes; and, the project budget should be aligned with the grant amount.

“The proposals must be an initiative being implemented by chapters of the JN Circle and their partner organisations. Projects should be for the benefit of the community and not an individual,” she pointed out.

She urged persons to visit the JN Circle website at https://www.myjncircle.com, to learn about the JN Circle, and join a local chapter so that they can be a part of an initiative in their community.

“The Foundation prepared JN Circle members to identify and develop projects which will create positive impact in their communities,” Ms Allen went on to say. “We hosted training sessions to ensure the ideas presented were sustainable, measurable and importantly, they would achieve the JN Circle mandate of community building.”

Welcoming the initiative, Phillip Service, President of the JN Circle Falmouth, noted the positive impact which the funds could create. He added that all JN Circle members should use this opportunity to access needed funding for their respective community projects.

“This is an opportunity for community leaders to add some value to what is being offered at the community level. Certainly, it will make a significant contribution to education, or any of the social issues being faced by the community,” he said.

“This is also an opportunity to also develop leaders, who are consciously able to respond to those issues,” he added.

The JN Foundation established the pool of J$15 million, to be accessed by chapters of the JN Circle for the funding initiatives, which will serve to improve their communities. A selection committee is in place to review applications and determine the winning projects.

The JN Circle is a network of clubs, which comprises JN members and customers of the companies in The Jamaica National Group. It was introduced in August 2019; and allows members and customers, who share JN’s values, to take action aimed to improve outcomes for themselves and for all Jamaicans, wherever they reside. There are 16 JN Circle clubs across the country.

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Road Crashes Survivors Reflect on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Suewhen Stewart, member service officer at JN Bank, Morant Bay, knows too well how speeding can negatively affect one’s life. She remembers vividly a motor vehicle accident that could have claimed her life and that of her unborn child, three years ago.

“It was a rainy November morning in 2018.  I was in Kingston and fell ill so I took a bus to see my doctor in Morant Bay (St. Thomas). After passing the Cement Company, the bus overturned, it spin about four times on its side”, she shared.  “I jumped through a broken window and saw the conductor under the bus. I was rushed to hospital and placed on bed rest because I was seven months pregnant”.

Stewart informed that the driver of the bus was speeding on that day. Sadly the conductor died from the injuries he received in the crash.

“Speed kills, reduce your speed, especially if the road is wet, if you want to be early, leave early,” she advised.

Another young professional, Yanique Wilson, marketing and communications officer at MC Systems, is happy to be alive today. Three years ago she was seriously injured while travelling in a taxi which was involved in a road crash.

“The accident left my right hand and leg broken. These injuries rendered me helpless and bed ridden for six excruciating months. Today, while I have recovered, I’m left with the mental trauma from the accident and I still do not have full use of my legs,” she disclosed.

Wilson’s words of advice is that everyone has a part to play in reducing the number of crashes on the road. “You don’t have to do anything wrong be a victim, you could be in the right and still be injured so we all have a part to play. This is my plea to you. Do your part, please obey the Road Code,” she said.

The number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes since the start of the year has raced across the 400-mark and now stands at 401, according to the latest statistics provided by the Road Safety Unit (RSU) in the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

The RSU said fatal crashes and fatalities have both increased by four per cent this year when compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

Deidre Hudson-Sinclair, acting director of the Road Safety Unit

Deidre Hudson-Sinclair, acting director of the Road Safety Unit said that she is saddened that statistics are going in the wrong direction, and note that it is a reflection that Jamaica has a far way to go in terms of education, driver training, safe roads and safe vehicles.

She said, as we observe World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims,  on Sunday, November 21, 2021, it is a time for reflection and a time to implement strategies that can drive down the number of road crashes.

“My heart goes out to the people who have lost their family members.  Many of them were the bread winners in their family. The best way to honour these victims and their families is to continue the fight against road crashes through road safety education and creating a safer traffic environment for all,” she said

Claudine Allen, general manager at the JN Foundation

 Claudine Allen, general manager at the JN Foundation said road crashes and fatalities continue to be a major problem in Jamaica. She said the economic fallout is great with significant cost to healthcare, productivity and infrastructure. 

“Even greater is the loss of lives and limbs and often the permanent incapacitation of many of the road crash victims. The social, financial and emotional effects on families are other areas in which the nation’s people suffer greatly,” she noted. 

Miss Allen said many of these crashes are preventable if due care was taken by all road users – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. 

“The appeal must continue until there is a change in the behaviour of all road users.  A greater level of awareness, discipline and courtesy must be displayed by all, then and only then will we see the reduction in road crashes and the resultant injuries and fatalities,” she said.

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Manchester Medical Officer of Health Warns Against Complacency on COVID-19

Medical Officer of Health in Manchester, Dr Nadine Williams is urging persons not to become complacent, as the COVID-19 cases and deaths decline. She insisted that persons should continue to follow the protocol and to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the virus.

Dr Williams made the appeal while being interviewed by Mello FM, during an immunisation drive at the Bishop Gibson High School in Mandeville, Manchester, which was organised by The Jamaica National Group under its ‘Immunise… Save Lives Campaign’, recently.

“We want persons to know that COVID-19 is still with us. Yes, the measures have been relaxed, but we are still having cases; persons are still being hospitalised and dying from COVID-19. We still need to protect ourselves by physical distancing and wearing your masks, and [avoiding] crowded places,” she said.

Addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy, Dr Williams informed that some people do not see the need to be vaccinated, while others are afraid of taking the vaccine.

“Persons do not feel the need to get the vaccine as they said the vaccine does not prevent them from contracting COVID-19. Some persons are afraid because of the conspiracy theories out there that the vaccine is the mark of the beast or they might die or get severe reactions to the vaccine,” she shared.

Speaking to the issue of preference for vaccine brands where some Jamaicans may show a preference for the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine, Dr Williams revealed that at least for Manchester- the uptake of the Pfizer has seen a slight increase since the Ministry of Health and Wellness made it available to other age groups.

Michael Bent, regional director of the Southern Regional Health Authority also underscored the importance of persons continuing to follow the protocols by wearing their masks, practising physical distancing and getting vaccinated, although curfew restrictions have been relaxed.

“Although we have some relaxation measures, it behoves everybody to take personal responsibility for his/her self. So you still have to follow the protocol, wear your mask, do not exceed the gathering limits, get vaccinated and stay your six feet distance,” he said pointing out that when the number of COVID-19 cases increases, it put a strain on the resources of the hospitals.

He said the Southern Regional Health Authority now has 120 beds and a field hospital available to COVID-19 patients.

Among rural parishes, Manchester has the third-highest incidence of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began in March 2020. It had registered 5,961 cases up to November 29.

The vaccination blitz at Bishop Gibson High school saw 394 persons, mainly students and parents, being vaccinated.

The JN Group, through the JN Foundation will be having another vaccination blitz, on Tuesday, November 30 in Plowden district in Manchester in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.  Three available vaccines will be administered – AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer (for children 12 to 17 years and adults over 50 years). The vaccination blitz will begin at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

Persons are being encouraged to register ahead of visiting the vaccination sites, although walk-ins will be accepted. They can register via the MOHW’s website, www.moh.gov.jm.

The JN Foundation is also offering an opportunity to persons who take the vaccine to benefit from a JN Money Card topped up with $2,500 if they upload a photo of their vaccination card on the JN Foundation website after being immunised. All they need to do is visit www.jnfoundation.com/immunisation, scroll down, and click the image ‘Immunise and Win’ to complete the brief form and upload the image of their card.

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JN Gets Close to 600 Vaccinated, as its Immunisation Drive Rolls into Plowden, Manchester

Close to 600 Jamaicans have now been vaccinated in two immunisation drives organised by the JN Foundation.

The philanthropic arm of the country’s third largest financial conglomerate, The Jamaica National Group, launched its campaign on October 1 with a series of messages on the airwaves, online and via immunisation sites to encourage Jamaicans to protect themselves and loved ones from the disease. There’s also a sweetener of $2,500 on a JN Money card for the first 200 persons monthly who register via jnfoundation.com and upload a photo of their vaccination card until December 31.

“I believe we are reaching Jamaicans and we only hope that the trend will continue as we visit other communities in parishes across the country,” said Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation.

The organisation commenced its drive with rural communities, given the lower take up of vaccines in parishes outside the Corporate Area. It began in Petersfield, Westmoreland, where some 200 people received a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, before the team moved on to Mandeville, Manchester, where close to 400 were vaccinated.

The Foundation will remain in Manchester this week, as it provides access to residents of Plowden and surrounding communities to include Little Portmore and Alligator Pond, in the southern region of the parish today, November 30. The vaccination site has been established at the Port Mahoe Seventh-day Adventist Church in Plowden and will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

At the same time, the JN Foundation is also supporting the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and a few service organisations with drives in other communities across the country to shore up the number of Jamaicans immunised against the deadly respiratory disease that has now depressed global activity for nearly two years and has killed in excess of 5 million people.

“It’s past time that we get back to higher levels of normalcy. The restrictions we are forced to impose to stop the spread of the disease are seriously eroding our human development, and if we continue, I fear for the world we’ll live in a few years from now,” Miss Allen bemoaned.

“We will continue with our message and our efforts even as we are facing the emergence of a new strain of the virus, because if we don’t, I believe the impact will be worse in the months ahead than it was during the surge of last August and September. I urge everyone to take personal responsibility by doing what they should for their families and their country,” she urged.    

After Plowden, the JN Foundation intends to head to Clarendon, where COVID-19 immunisation rates are also woefully low, although the parish has had the fifth highest incidence of the disease since it arrived in Jamaica in March 2020. Only 17.5 per cent of the parish’s population have had at least a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine up to October 31, MOHW stats show.

Miss Allen said Jamaicans can listen out for details about upcoming vaccination drives via the airwaves and from town criers in targeted communities, as well as via email and text messages from the JN Group.

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JN Rolls Out into Manchester

JN Rolls Out into Manchester with Vax Drives Nov 24 and 30

Following a drive-in Petersfield, Westmoreland, which resulted in nearly 200 persons receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the JN Foundation is back on the road with its Immunise… Save Lives campaign and will making two stops in Manchester on November 24 and 30.

The Foundation will be administering the three available vaccines- AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer (for children 12 to 17 years and adults over 50 years)- at the Bishop Gibson High School, Newleigh Road, Mandeville on Wednesday, November 24, and then at the Port Mahoe Seventh-day Adventist Church in Plowden District, southern Manchester on Tuesday, the 30th. Both events will begin at 9:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m.

“We’re continuing with our message and the initiatives so that- not if- but when the fourth wave comes, we will be better prepared as a country and we won’t have to return to the chaotic scenes of August and September when our hospitals were running out of oxygen and beds,” commented Claudine Allen, general manager, JN Foundation.

“We want to get back to our good old Jamaican life.”

Among rural parishes, Manchester has the third highest incidence of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began in March 2020. It had registered nearly 6,000 cases up to November 19. According to Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) data up to October 31, only 19.5 percent had received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Persons are being encouraged to register ahead of visiting the sites on November 24 and 30, although walk-ins will be accepted, Ms Allen said. “You can register via the MOHW’s website, www.moh.gov.jm, and be assured that you will be processed faster than if you had just walked in,” Miss Allen said.

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COVID-19 Immunisation Drive for Petersfield, Friday, Saturday

With less than a third of the population of Westmoreland immunised against COVID-19, The JN Foundation will roll out its immunisation drive, in partnership with the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), in Petersfield in the parish.

The initiative is being spearheaded under the Foundation’s Immunise… Save Lives campaign, with the establishment of a vaccination site at the Petersfield Primary School on Friday, October 29 and Saturday, 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both days.

Westmoreland, where Jamaica National was founded 147 years ago, has the fourth highest incidence of COVID-19 cases among parishes outside of the country’s largest urban spaces in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine. The western parish has more than 5,000 infections and more than 150 deaths since March last year, according to news reports.  

Petersfield, one of the country’s oldest towns with some 4,000 people, of whom approximately 3,000 are JN members, will serve as a central point for various communities to access vaccines to protect themselves from infection, hospitalisation and possible death from COVID-19. The surrounding districts and communities include Amity, Waterworks and Smithfield.

“We will be starting promptly at 10:00 a.m. and working a very smooth operation so that people can come and get their immunisation done quickly and without challenges. They’ll be  on their way in a very short space of time,” assured Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation.

Residents who walk in will be accommodated on both days. However, registration ahead of the drive is available on the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) website, www.moh.gov.jm. To register on the website, persons should click ‘Apply here for COVID-19 Vaccinations’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen, complete the information requested and select the Petersfield location.

Persons should take along with them a national ID or a letter validating their identity signed and sealed by a Justice of the Peace. 

“We are also working alongside a few churches and institutions for whose members we will be arranging transportation, should they need the assistance to get to the site,” Ms Allen disclosed. 

She reminded residents that they could benefit from a JN Money Card topped up with $2,500 if they upload a photo of their vaccination card on the JN Foundation website after being immunised. All they need to do is visit www.jnfoundation.com/immunisation; scroll down, and click the image ‘Immunise and Win’, to complete the brief form and upload the images of their card.  

Leading up to Friday’s and Saturday’s drive, Ms Allen said the team will be conducting a series of sensitisation initiatives using town criers, to assist people with making informed decisions.

“We are very grateful for the partnership with the health authorities and the American Friends of Jamaica, without whose support we would not be able to impact lives in this way,” Ms Allen commended JN’s partners for the vaccination drive.

The New York-based not-for-profit organisation has organised other immunisation drives across the country, and has administered more than 3,000 doses of vaccines in Jamaica so far, working in partnership with MOHW.

“This is a very important initiative if we are to restore Jamaica on its journey to achieving its development goals,” said Caron Chung, AFJ executive director, “and to make that possible, we all have to partner with each other. This task is not for the government alone; we all have to play our part as private sector, non-profit and as Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica, wherever we are in the world, to end this pandemic.”

Persons are also invited to tune into the JN Circle Thrive Together Life Class on Wednesdays for interesting discussions on COVID-19 and immunisation, which feature experts and well-known persons. Last Wednesday’s discussion featured dancehall producer Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell and COVID-19 specialist, Dr Princeton Brown. Next Wednesday’s class, October 27, will be centred on the topic: ‘Let’s Talk COVID-19: Navigating Vaccine Hesitancy and Relationships’. To register for the class, persons should visit www.myjncircle.com/thrive, or they can simply watch live via the JN Foundation’s Facebook page.

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Taking Only One Dose of Two-dose COVID Vaccines Could Leave Persons More Vulnerable, says Expert

Dr Princeton Brown, COVID-19 specialist

There are some 50,000 Jamaicans who, after taking their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, have not returned to take their second shot, leaving themselves vulnerable to the disease.

Jermaine, who, without delay, received his second dose of the AstraZeneca at the JN Foundation and American Friends of Jamaica-organised vaccination drive in Petersfield Westmoreland recently, was one of those Jamaicans, until he had a near brush with death from the deadly respiratory illness.

After taking his father to get his first shot in about April at the Savana-la-Mar Health Centre, Jermaine hesitantly decided to also take his first shot in June at the bidding of his dad.

“We went down in the evening. Actually I catch the last one (last dose), because we stick around same way until they said there is enough that we can get. That’s why I took the first one, but I was still hesitant,” he recalled.

“When I should go get the second one, I was up and down and wasn’t really thinking. When they called, I couldn’t reach at the time, but I should have followed up still,” a remorseful Jermaine reflected.

Sometime later, he began to experience flu-like symptoms, which he brushed aside until the symptoms became severe. He lost his appetite and then began experiencing challenges with breathing.

“One day my sister came and said, ‘Jermaine, you don’t see you fighting to breathe?’ And I said I’m going to drive to the doctor, and my neighbour saw me and said, ‘Come let me carry you,’” he remembered up to that point.

He was taken to the Savanna-la-Mar General Hospital, but he remembers very little after that.

“I went into the hospital in just shorts and shirt. I had no mind of my own and no energy to move to do anything. After that I fell asleep,” he recalled. But he hadn’t just gone to sleep, he fell into a coma, he said, and remained at the hospital for about two weeks, or so he was told.

Failing to follow through the full course of two-dose vaccines could actually make matters worse, underscores COVID-19 specialist, Dr Princeton Brown.

“Efficacy doesn’t mean you won’t catch it. It means should you catch it, the results won’t be as disastrous,” he said. Dr Brown said there is still a 15 to 20 per cent chance one could catch COVID-19 and get severely ill after just having one shot.

A resident receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Petersfield Primary School in Westmoreland recently. The vaccination site was organised by the JN Foundation with support from American Friends of Jamaica, and administered first and second doses of AstraZeneca, and the single-dose vaccine Johnson & Johnson. A resident, who gave his name as Jermaine, attended the site to receive his second dose of AstraZeneca, after getting severe COVID-19 during the summer. Jermaine had been hesitant to return for his second dose after getting his first shot earlier this year. He caught the respiratory illness in between both doses.

AstraZeneca provides somewhere between 70 and 76 per cent protection after a first dose. With a second dose 12 to 14 weeks after, that moves up to about 82 per cent. The Pfizer- BioNtech’s first dose provides 90 to 95 per cent protection after a first dose, and a second shot triggers a close 100 per cent protection.  

 “The vaccination process is two-dose and, if necessary, booster shots. We’re dealing with a virus, which has the ability to change. It’s not like a bacterium that will just stay the same. So we have to change with it,” he encouraged persons hesitant about getting the second dose of vaccine.

“One dose of a two-dose vaccine alone may do you more harm than actually good,” he warned.

“It’s always important to do the full course to get the full immunity. If you go with half you’re starting the immunity process without finishing it. Should you get sick, you have the possibility of getting sicker, because the immune system would be required to fight, but it hasn’t had enough [of the vaccine] to fight against [the virus], and, therefore, it could actually make it worse,” he explained, underscoring that this is not unique to the COVID-19 shots and is in fact how most multiple-dose vaccines work. He said it’s among the reasons people with COVID are not given the vaccines immediately after catching the disease.  

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been encouraging persons that to receive the maximum benefits from their vaccination, notably a reduction in the chance of severe illness, hospitalisation and/or death, persons should ensure that they receive their second dose of the two-shot vaccines, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie warned that people are not fully protected unless they have taken a single-dose vaccine or both doses of a double-dose vaccine, stressing that of the more than 1,600 persons who died from COVID-19 from March to October 2021, 98 per cent were unvaccinated.

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Lliana Lammie…The Future Seismologist

With reports of major earthquakes and seismic activities affecting countries in the Caribbean region in recent years, JN Scholar, Lliana Lammie, believes that in the future she will be able to serve her country well in the field of seismology.

“I’ve always been fascinated by earthquakes and tsunamis. I used to be afraid of them, but now I’m just very fascinated and I’d like to learn more about them, especially how to stop them from happening and to prevent people from getting killed by them,” stated the 12-year-old.

A recent graduate of St Aloysius Primary School, Lliana, who now attends Campion College, is the 2021 recipient of the JN Foundation’s Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Scholarship for the parish of Kingston.

She was among 37 top performers in this year’s PEP exam, who were awarded five-year scholarships by the JN Foundation at a virtual awards reception held on September 26.

With a future in seismology, it’s no surprise that Lliana’s favourite subjects are geography and mathematics.

Despite her hectic schedule with school and extra-curricular activities, the avid netballer and dancer also enjoys socialising with her friends, though she admits that the COVID-19 pandemic has made this very hard in recent months.

“I really wish that COVID-19 wasn’t here so that I could interact with more people and attend face-to-face classes, but I have been trying to make the best of the situation,” she said.

JN Scholar for the parish of St Andrew, Damir Fairclough, also admitted that he misses interacting with his friends and attending school the traditional way. He, however, noted that he has quickly grown accustomed to online education and believes this method of learning will not affect his grades or overall performance.

Damir’s performance in the PEP exams has earned him a spot at the school of his choice, Campion College. The 11-year-old plans to remain at the top of his class, with hopes of matriculating to tertiary education in a few years.

His career goal is to become a pilot. “I want to be able to travel the world and to take my family to different places,” he said.

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