Situation at National Arena and other blitz sites regrettable says Health Minister

Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, speaks at a ceremony to hand over 30,000 antigen test kits and reader machines to six private laboratories, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices, on Thursday (January 14).

The Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, described the events that unfolded over the weekend at some vaccination blitz sites, and on Wednesday at the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre, as regrettable.

Tufton made the remarks while speaking at a sitting of the joint select committee on COVID-19 on Wednesday (June 24).

Scores of Jamaicans were turned away when they visited the National Arena over the weekend as there was a shortage of vaccine doses.

Similarly the vaccination site at Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre in St. Andrew did not open as planned on Wednesday (June 23) after a large crowd descended on the location.

“I certainly regret the inconvenience that has been caused with the rush on some of the locations, particularly the National Arena. And today we have seen where the Mona Ageing Centre had a rush, which really meant no vaccines were delivered,” said Tufton.

“And so those who have been inconvenienced, particularly our senior citizens, it is not a desired position. And it’s indeed a regrettable position on the part of those who have had to suffer the wait without successfully getting the vaccines,” he added

Tufton used the occasion to share that while he understood the frustration of those seeking to get a second dose; no one had reached the recommended 12 week period for getting the jab.

The Minister assured that priority would be given to people closest to the end of the 12 weeks.

“So we ask those persons once you’re contacted to come out, we say to others who are anxious and understandably so, don’t come if you’re not contacted,” said Tufton.

“Or if you feel you’re close to that date of the 12 week period make contact because it is possible that we could overlook all the system may not fully account for everyone,” Tufton added.