Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, says the ministry has developed and will be rolling out a COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme, tapping into the tremendous capacity for advocacy of young people in Jamaica.
Dr Tufton said the programme is aimed towards making young people a more active part of the COVID-19 response strategy.
He was speaking during Thursday’s COVID Conversations digital press conference.
“Young people are more active, they push the envelope a little more and that’s understandable and even with the restrictions that have been imposed, many have not captured a sense of urgency or even a sense of fear as it relates to the COVID-19 virus,” the minister said.
“The data suggests, and it’s a narrative that we have pushed, that young people are more immune, if you would say, less likely to face severe consequences from a clinical perspective, less likely to die and that to some extent has bred some levels of complacency,” he continued.
However, the minister said that while young people may not die from having the virus, they certainly have the capacity to spread the virus to the older population.
“There is no separation between the young and the old in our society. We all go home to our grandparents or parents, or pass them on the street, or sit with them on the bus, or drive with them in the taxis, or go to church or sit on the choir with them, or the bars or wherever, and as a consequence we co-mingle. Co-mingling is a part of our culture and so we have to be careful,” the minister added.
Dr Tufton said it is against this background that the ministry has developed the COVID-19 Youth Leader’s Response Programme.
“We want our young people not to be super spreaders but to see themselves as protectors of the older population,” he said.
The minister said the programme would be elaborated on tomorrow during a meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre at 1:00 pm which will feature several young leaders.