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.