Chaos at blitz sites in Jamaica, Minister blames people for showing up without an appointment

Photo of two vaccine blitz activations held on Saturday (June 19) on the left Grand Bahia in St Ann and National Arena in the island’s capital.

Scores of Jamaicans were left frustrated after they turned up at the National Arena on Saturday (June 19) hoping to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, only to hear that the jabs had run out.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) closed the vaccination blitz site just after 10:00 a.m. telling those eager to take the jab that they had surpassed their target for the activation.

The early closure of the site was met with anger by many who had been in queues for well over two hours noting that they had received communications that they had appointments booked.

Some individuals 50 and over, who Saturday’s blitz was designed to accommodate, said they had noticed that the rollout wasn’t in keeping with the communication received, as they observed younger people in the arena getting their jab.

Others took to the social media platform, Twitter, to vent their frustrations with Saturday’s activation, slamming the MOHW for being poorly organized and failing to communicate changes.

“Well Stadium is closed. So those who seniors with appointments for this afternoon at Stadium must go where now?!!! Kmt ,” said one clearly upset Twitter user.

“I don’t understand how people with appointments over 50 are being turned away. Zero communication. Showing up to be told they are closed for the day. Really poor,” added another

Other blitz sites also had hiccups

Jamaicans outside of the nation’s capital also reported experiencing frustration at blitz sites.

While not necessarily running out of jabs, those waiting to get jabs described the process as disorganized, while other complained about the lengthy wait in the blazing sun.

“People standing in queue and about to become de-hydrated from the sun #vaccinationblitz #vaccinateja,”tweteed one user who shared a photo from a vaccination site in St Ann.

“This vaccine roll out has become a complete joke, Nothing but poor planning and communication. #vaccinateja ,” added another.

In a release sent out by the MOHW on Saturday (June 19) it admitted that there were challenges at some of its sites, namely the National Arena.

However, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton attributed the challenges to individuals turning up who did not have appointments.

“From reports received, from the sites across the island, the blitz operation ran efficiently for most sites, with some delays and other challenges at the national arena, primarily linked to persons who were not scheduled to be vaccinated turning up at the site, ” said Tufton who commented on the day’s proceedings.

Tufton noted that with the exception of the National Arena, the blitz operations would continue island-wide on Sunday (June 20).