More than 74 per cent of Jamaicans remain unvaccinated against COVID-19

NILES, IL - NOVEMBER 16: George Rodriguez, RN draws a dose of flu vaccine prior to administering vaccinations at the Maine Town Hall November 16, 2004 in Niles, Illinois. The flu shot program was organized by Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and was an appointment-only event. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Despite the availability of more than one million doses of vaccines, more than 74 per cent of the Jamaican population remains unvaccinated against COVID-19.

This is one of the lowest vaccination rates in the entire Caribbean region and leaves the population vulnerable to periodic outbreaks of COVID-19, especially as new variants like the fast-spreading omicron emerge.

Jamaica’s precarious position was revealed in the Parliament last week, during a presentation by the Ministry of Health and Wellness on the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Related Matters.

The power point presentation showed that only 19.9 per cent of the population had received a first dose or had been fully vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines up to December 15. A closer look at the numbers shows that among the 19.9 per cent, some 5.7 per cent had received a first dose only. This meant that a worrying 74.4 per cent of the total population had not received any form of protection against the coronavirus.

Among parishes, Kingston and St Andrew has most coverage with 26.9 per cent overall vaccinated of which 7.9 per cent had received a first dose. Overall, 65.1 per cent of the Corporate Area remains vulnerable.

The parish of St James comes next with 22.9 per vaccinate rate of which 6.8 per cent is made of those who have received a first dose.

Clarendon at 15.9 per cent; St Catherine, 14.6; Portland, 14.1; and St Thomas, 10.9 are the least vaccinated parishes.

Meanwhile, at 35.4 per cent, persons in the 70-79 age group have the highest levels of vaccination. They are closely followed by the 60-69 age group at 35.1 per cent; those 50-59 at 30.9 per cent; 40-49 at 25.5 per cent; and those eighty and over at 24.8 per cent.

The least vaccinated groups are those 20-29 at 17.7 per cent; 30-39 at 20.0 per cent; and teenagers and adolescents 12-19 at 20.2 per cent.

With these low levels of vaccination Jamaica is on course to miss its target of 65 per cent vaccinated by March 2022.

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