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Jamaica achieves a one-day record of 21,000 COVID-19 vaccinations

Jamaica achieves a one-day record of 21,000 COVID-19 vaccinations

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RECORD ONE-DAY COVID vaccinations: Take fight to social-media conspiracy theorists, says doctor Dr Leslie Meade: “We have to tackle them on social media, putting the information out there.”

Kenyon Hemans/Photographer Dr Leslie Meade: “We have to tackle them on social media, putting the information out there.”

Jamaica achieved a one-day record of 21,000 COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, bolstering hope that the country could meet its target of 65 per cent herd immunity by March 2022.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Leslie Meade has called for the Government to aggressively counter naysayers and messengers of misinformation against vaccination.

Take-up of the jab has been slow in Jamaica, which trails almost all Caribbean neighbours in per-capita compliance.

As at August 24, the Ministry of Health recorded 467,658 doses had been administered in Jamaica, but just above 138,100 people were fully vaccinated.

However, crowded vaccination sites during a four-day blitz, which ended on Tuesday, offered hope of a bump in interest.

“We have to tackle them on social media, putting the information out there. We need to also reach people in deep rural areas of the Jamaica. Those people, a lot of them, may not have access to Internet and social media, so we need to be spreading the word through dedicated radio campaigns and through the media,” Meade told The Gleaner on Monday.

He is on a mission to get every Jamaican vaccinated against COVID-19, including pregnant women, whom he believes should be on the priority list.

The public health specialist, who along with his wife, is vaccinated against the COVID virus, took their two teenage sons to get their shot during the weekend blitz.

“We have to get more people vaccinated and quickly. We have to ensure that our children are vaccinated. We have to encourage parents to ensure that we can get our students back into school because they have lost almost two years of schooling and it is going to spell problems for us in the future, if we don’t get them back sooner than later,” he said in an interview with The Gleaner on Monday.

Meade believes the high infection rate with which the country is grappling is linked to the misguided actions of the authorities.

He charged that the Government opened up the economy too quickly with the infection rate above five per cent, which is the international benchmark, amid low vaccine supply.

In addressing concerns that vaccinated persons could still contract or spread the virus, Meade warned that the alternative was a lottery of deadly danger. COVID-19 vaccination mitigates the risk of severe complications.

“The vaccinated can still be spreaders, yes, but there are several reasons why you should get it. The person that is vaccinated is unlikely to be severely ill, need ventilation support, and to die from the disease,” Meade said.

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