Manchester Health Department increasing home vaccinationsWednesday, October 27, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Health officials here have expressed satisfaction following a house-to-house COVID-19 vaccination drive that targeted shut-ins, the disabled and the elderly in Cross Keys, Newport and Mandeville on Sunday and Monday.
The programme was recently launched by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in at least nine parishes as part of its efforts to get more Jamaicans vaccinated.
Medical officer of health for Manchester Dr Nadine Williams told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the initiative had started before last Sunday with a few shut-ins.
In addition to the targeted people, the vaccination programme in Cross Keys and Newport embraced others who were interested.
“On Sunday we had a list of the persons we wanted to cover, so we started in the Cross Keys area. We partnered with Three Angels [mobile pharmacy] and went to the home of the first two persons and then other people in the community. As we met them [we] went into their homes,” Dr Williams said.
“It is more like we encountered people, because it was a no-movement day. If we saw anybody on the road, at church, passersby and those at home, we engaged them so we were able to do 19 persons on Sunday,” she shared.
The Manchester Health Department, up to midday yesterday, had administered 60,161 doses of vaccines with 36,109 being first doses, 21,727 second doses, and 2,325 single doses.
Dr Williams explained that the house-to-house administration of vaccinations is more time-consuming than at fixed sites, due to the need for staff to observe those who have just been vaccinated.
“You cannot just stick and move on [and] that is why we were not able to do a whole lot on the particular day. We were satisfied with the outcome, and between Sunday and Monday we were able to cover the 11 shut-in persons on our list,” she said.
The initiative, Dr Williams added, will continue even as she encouraged people to ensure shut-ins are registered online for the house-to-house visits.
“We will continue to do so as long as we get the requests. The ministry has on their website a tool that persons can [use to] register if they have relatives who are not mobile and they are not able to get them to a vaccination site. So they can go register and then we will be able to access the information at the parish level and make contact,” she explained.
“When we do the house-to-house visits we don't really get a large number of people covered on a given day, so it will help. Our strategy is that we are trying to utilise or to make it more accessible in our health centres,” she added.
She said people are gravitating towards the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.
However, she said the uptake of vaccines has declined, which she believes is due to time constraints and transportation issues.
“We are trying to accommodate requests to increase the uptake, especially of the AstraZeneca, with the community outreach. We find that more persons were desirous of getting the J&J rather than the AstraZeneca,” she said.
“The uptake has declined significantly so we now have to meet the people in their space, and the willingness seems to be there still. It is just that maybe the persons who are still out there and willing, they are just not able to find the time to come to us,” she added.