“Don’t take Omicron Variant lightly” – Health Minister

As Jamaica continues to have a record number of daily COVID-19 infections- over 1,500 on Friday and a positivity rate of 49%, Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton is urging Jamaicans not to take the omicron variant lightly, but to ensure that they remain vigilant in the practice of the infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19, including vaccination.

“I have observed a narrative, where persons are downplaying the omicron variant, describing it as mild. However, with over 70% of the population unvaccinated, it is critical that Jamaicans continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols, as this variant is more contagious, which will mean more Jamaicans will catch the virus and invariably, hospitalization and death will increase,” cautioned Dr. Tufton.

“We have put measures in place for our public health system to respond, but do also want to caution Jamaicans not to grow complacent at this time of vulnerability. Along with the practice handwashing or sanitizing, mask-wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowds, we continue to champion vaccination as critical tool to minimize severity of illness, hospitalization and death associated with COVID-19,” Dr. Tufton added.

To receive a COVID-19 vaccine, members of the public may visit the more than 250 access points across the island.

At the same time, persons are being reminded that booster doses are on offer at permanent vaccination sites. Members of the public, in particular the elderly, and people living with a chronic illness, such as diabetes and hypertension, are encouraged to get their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to help to prevent severe illness and death. Persons who are immunocompromised should also receive an additional dose of the vaccines.