Private sector vaccination blitz; the PM gets called out and; more sources will help give vaccines-August 31, 2021

Jamaica’s private sector kicked into high gear with vaccinations yesterday as their umbrella organization, the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, held sessions at a hotel in Kingston:

1,214 doses administered.
Here’s the breakdown:
💉 AstraZeneca: 631 1st dose; 12 2nd dose
💉Pfizer: 339
💉Johnson and Johnson: 232

They’ll have another session on September 2:

Further, Howard Mitchell, immediate past President of the PSOJ and Chairman of the Board of the National Health Fund, called on the PM to take charge of the vaccination programme. This was a clear criticism of the leadership, so far:

Finally, more resources will be thrown at vaccinations by having private hospitals and school nurses added to the mix:

Covid Conversations: Hindsight? Look at what the CMO said about a 3rd wave on April 29, 2021…-August 30, 2021

An excellent review by Susan Goffe of the early warnings from Spring of a possible 3rd wave in Jamaica.

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Last week nearly 5000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. One hundred and sixteen (116) deaths were reported,…

Covid Conversations: Hindsight? Look at what the CMO said about a 3rd wave on April 29, 2021…

O, my Diaspora!-August 29, 2021

When I got up earlier, I saw this interesting headline in The Sunday Observer and thought I’d read it later. By the time I got up properly, a bit later than usual at 6, I saw a message from a contact with an article showing my picture and by line. It was the same piece!

I’d written the draft nearly 3 months ago, and some things take time to move in Jamaica. But, no grumbles, as it still reads in a nice way and I can stand firmly behind my own thoughts.

So, enjoy your 3-days of no movement by having some brain food about our diaspora. Blessings to us all.

Hot air isn’t going to solve Jamaica’s oxygen shortage problem-August 28, 2021

The public health services crisis in Jamaica is hitting some important bollards. Once again, oxygen supplies for hospitals are running low:

So far, the government has not felt the need to address this with any major public statement. But, the Opposition is urging overtures to foreign suppliers:

This shortage is not a problem particular to Jamaica, as last week Florida’s COVID crisis was hitting a similar wall:

There, the liquid oxygen crisis is hitting other industries:

Florida’s mayor has also urged people to curb water consumption because liquid oxygen is used to purify water:

Vaccine mandates coming step by step-August, 27 2021

Just because Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness said he did not think his government making vaccines mandatory would pass the constitutional test does not mean that a significant proportion of the population will not be mandated to be vaccinated. It just may not be a national diktat.

What we’re seeing in other countries is that major corporations and public institutions that handle large volumes of people, eg airlines, universities, school districts, etc are mandating vaccines for staff and customers. So, gradually, the landscape for those who do not wish to be vaccinated is shrinking.

Logic suggests that this will become ‘survival mode’ and the norm for large institutions dealing with large volumes of people and so spread vaccine mandates ‘place by place’, which may well avoid constitutional issues of national mandates. So, it’s no surprise that some banks have gone this way, as in Canada:

Delta Airlines will impose higher health care insurance costs on staff who are not vaccinated, with a US$200 a month surcharge:

In Australia and elsewhere medical staff are being mandated to be vaccinated:

A California school district has mandated vaccines for all returning students aged 12 years or over:

California is mulling vaccination mandates for indoor settings, the first state to do so:

San Francisco is mandating proof of vaccine:

We need not go through the full list, but can note this week the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, advised that all students living in halls of residence will need to be vaccinated:

The logic of this is likely to be that all who attend classes need vaccination, to keep the integrity of the housing policy in tact. So, the cordon is likely to spread.

So, public policy in Jamaica is to urge people to get vaccinated.

But, we shouldn’t be surprised to see the call for mandates coming from a wide range of operators as vaccines become more available.

Jamaica reaches vaccine milestone and gets more vaccine supplies-August 26, 2021

Jamaica has 500,000 people vaccinated; about 150,000 with two doses, and 350,000 with one dose (some of whom have recieved the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine). That means 500,000 with about at least 50% protection (which is near the bottom end of single dose protection). People like round numbers and half a million will be significant to post in most people’s minds, as the country edges towards a target of 1.9 million fully vaccinated.

A shipment of 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines were gifted by Canada:

When ‘no movement’ means a lot of people moving around-August 25, 2021

I’ll be interested to see the numbers for COVID cases coming after the first of 3 no-movement days in Jamaica, during August 21-24. I hope for the best, but wonder how that could be, when this policy was met with a list of 54 categories of people who were exempt:

Exceptions were later made to allow churches to have services:

Now, we can all argue about ‘essential’ services, journeys, or whatever, but when ‘no movement’ policies are met with a long list of people who can legitimately move around, I wonder how realistic that is. It’s certainly more onerous for those who literally have to police it, and some indications are that-no surprise-some will try to get past the restrictions because they have St Vitus Dance.

The police tried to put a brave face on it, posting pictures of empty streets and highways:

I feel sorry for anyone who found themselves having to justify their movements, especially those seeking vaccinations, who were supposed to have ‘free passage’, though the JCF erroneously posted that they needed to show proof of appointment, when none were needed:

But, we know vaccination sites were busy, especially yesterday, when a record 21,000 vaccines were given in one day:

So, let the tallying begging

Jamaica’s 3-day vaccine blitz had its teething problems-August 24, 2021

Things were never going to be easy in terms of getting a vaccination blitz rolling during 3 days of ‘no movement’. At its simplest, many people were not sure if going to get vaccinated was allowed. It’s not about putting out information to make that clear, but many nuances have surrounded how vaccines have been administered in Jamaica. Appointment? No appointment? Specified categories? All over 18? Blitz? Regular/Permanent sites? Which sites? Health personnel adding personal touches to deny people access? That’s a lot to try to process for any individual before they set out and more so if they are dependent on others and public transport to get to the right places. Then, some sites close because of heavy demand, or they are open and not vaccinating from 9am, as generally stipulated. Too many twists and turns.

Put all of that into a basket that also involved how to get along with 3 days of lockdown? No wonder many did not get their act together until Tuesday.

But, I’d not fault the effort to get the message out about sites:

I think the government missed a trick by making statements that no one associated with students or schools should go for vaccines. The time available for many is not that clear, and 3 days without obligation to move to do other things would have been ideal for some and those who could assist them in getting vaccinated. I think it’s becoming clear that if the vaccines are there many people want them, but access is an issue.

Reports were that demand was heavy across the island and at the end of the day, some 21,000 people had been vaccinated.

I’m sure many people are glad to have a choice of vaccines available, for whatever reason. When our programme started, I personally wanted to single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, simply because I thought it would mean a faster route to protection. But, Jamaica did not get that early and AstraZeneca (AZ) was our only choice. I’d prefer any than none, and with delays predicted and the timeline for supplies unclear, I was happy to take AZ. But, others probably wanted to wait for J&J, for the single dose reason. Others might have wanted Pfizer, for a range of reasons, including better name recognition compared to AZ. Added to which were stories of issues with AZ production in India and issues with botched procedures affecting J&J at plants in the USA.

Supplies of Pfizer vaccines arrived in Jamaica last week (208,000) and so enabled the government to try to push for vaccination of those aged 12-17.

Well, J&J has just arrived in Jamaica:

We’ll have to see how demand goes for that 115,000 doses.

Covid Reflections: Delta Variant Confirmed & Deaths Increase Sharply in August-August 23, 2021

We are in our third wave of Covid-19 in Jamaica. MOHW slide – OPM press briefing 19-8-21 The Delta variant, which for some time has been assumed to …

Covid Reflections: Delta Variant Confirmed & Deaths Increase Sharply in August