Strong take-up of COVID-19 vaccine among seniors in Manchester

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — There has been a strong take-up of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by senior citizens 75 years and older in this south-central parish.

Acting officer of health Dr Shonette Blair-Walters told the Jamaica Observer last week that the first-day target of 140 jabs for seniors was surpassed at the five health centres in Manchester.

“So far, the vaccination process for the elderly has been proceeding well with not many problems,” she said.

Blair-Walters said that in total, 189 people “including [some] front line workers” as well as the elderly, were vaccinated across Manchester.

Senior citizen Jeff Smith received his first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday at Mandeville Comprehensive Clinic and told the Observer he was happy to grab the opportunity.

“I didn’t have any [concern] than just to have the vaccine as soon as it was available… I wouldn’t mind if we could go back to normal [life] tomorrow,” he said, and encouraged others to take the jab at the first opportunity.

There was also evidence of young people encouraging older relatives to take the vaccine. Durvin McLennon, 78, said his daughter wanted him to take the vaccine.

Blair-Walters took the opportunity to remind senior citizens that they should register online at https://www.moh.gov.jm/ for their appointment to be vaccinated or call 888-ONE-LOVE (888-663-5683).

When asked about so-called lucky jabs, in relation to people who have been vaccinated without having first registered, she said the health department is seeking to ensure that vaccination is done in an orderly fashion.

“We don’t want to be too harsh on our clients. I know you mentioned the words “lucky jab”, but we want to have an orderly process and we want everyone to be patient and just wait for his or her turn. There could have been persons who received that lucky jab, but that is not what we want to have happening,” she said.

“We want to ensure that it is done in an orderly fashion and that persons turn up for their vaccines using the appointment system,” Blair-Walters added.

She commended those who have already been vaccinated for their cooperation at health centres.

“…You have behaved in such a commendable fashion,” she said.

“The [health] team has appreciated your patience and we are happy to know that we are protecting the country…The more of us who are vaccinated the less likely we are to suffer from a severe form of COVID-19, and we want to make sure that we are reducing the spread,” she added.

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