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LUCKY JAB


Scores of people who were not scheduled to be vaccinated yesterday were among those who turned up at The Good Samaritan Inn in the Corporate Area hoping for a “lucky jab”.

In rolling out its COVID-19 vaccination programme almost two weeks ago, the Ministry of Health and Wellness started with health-care workers and people over 70 years old, before moving to the police, members of the military and other front-line workers.

The roll-out continued last week with Cabinet members, parliamentarians and heads of ministries and Government agencies who were at least 60 years of age.

This week the ministry said the priority group for vaccination is people 75 years and older, but that did not stop several people below the target group from heading to vaccination centres yesterday.

Among them was a woman in her late 60s, who got lucky last week and was given her first jab although not on the schedule.

Yesterday she returned with her sister, who is also in her 60s, confident that she knew enough about the system to get her sister a lucky jab.

“Last Wednesday I came here at nine o’clock with my 88-year-old father and they told me the same thing 75 and over. I made him go through and he got his, then I went back in the line and waited. We came at nine o’clock and I never got my vaccine until about 1:30 pm,” said the woman, who asked that her name be withheld.

“My father got through first, but then I got back in the line and they give me the vaccine,” added the woman.

She said she had returned with her sister yesterday and they were prepared to wait as, based on the Ministry of Health’s protocols, once a vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is opened, all 10 or 11 doses it contains must be used.

“We closer to 70 than 60 and mi tek the jab already but we a wait because mi want mi sister to get it now,” the woman told the Jamaica Observer.

“We want the jab and honestly it was not a bad experience when I took it. Mi tek mi Panadol and about two days later everything was fine. There was some pain and you feel like you are going to get the flu, but you don’t actually get the flu, and then you just feel better. I feel perfect now,” added the woman as she urged Jamaicans to take the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

“We must follow the rules. We are Jamaicans and our Government has done whatever they needed to do to get the vaccines and we should take them. There are some countries where the entire population has been vaccinated… and we must do it,” she declared.

Her less vocal sister, who was waiting in the wings, said she was desperate to get her jab.

“We must take it to avoid COVID-19 and I want to take the vaccine,” said the sister as she waited in the sparse shade outside the centre where Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding were among those to take the vaccine yesterday.

Since Jamaica started administering the COVID-19 vaccine just under two weeks ago, hundreds of people have turned up at vaccination centres hoping to be inoculated despite not being on the schedule.

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