COVID-19 booster vaccine to be made available on Monday in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ministry of Health and Wellness says beginning Monday, Jamaica will offer a booster shot to all individuals 18 years and older who have received a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The ministry said the booster can be given with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine two to six months after the administration of the primary vaccination or with the Pfizer vaccine six months after the primary vaccination.

”Also starting tomorrow, adults 60 years and older and healthcare workers will be given a booster dose of the other COVID-19 vaccines,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the development comes in the wake of its finalisation of the evaluation and benefit analysis of administering an additional dose of the authorised COVID-19 vaccines to key members of the population. 

The ministry is recommending that a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine be offered six months or more after the completion of the initial doses that may have consisted of either mRNA (Pfizer) or viral vector vaccine (AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson). 

”The move is in line with a Cabinet decision for boosters to be given to key populations at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, increased risk of waning and/or lower protection and who could pose increased risk of transmission to vulnerable populations. These key populations are essential for maintaining health system capacity,” the health ministry said.

Individuals who are eligible for a booster shot are to visit the nearest vaccination site with their vaccination card and Government issued ID.  

The ministry also reminded the public that an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccines is recommended for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals. This will be an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine already received and should be administered eight weeks after the last dose. 

For other members of the population, the ministry said it will continue to closely monitor the evidence and will make additional recommendations if there is evidence of the need for and benefit of a booster dose, as well as vaccine availability.

”With the Omicron variant seen as highly transmissible and in keeping with the ministry’s priority, members of the public are also urged to complete their COVID-19 vaccination series,” the statement said.

”Persons are encouraged to visit the over 250 vaccination sites islandwide to receive their first dose. Members of the public, who are past due their second dose are also encouraged to visit a vaccination site to be fully vaccinated,” it added.

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