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.