PSOJ Calls For Urgent National Vaccination Mobilisation Strategy

Based on the current surge in Jamaica’s positivity rate and the prolonging of the negative impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the nation, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has been compelled to ponder the question of requiring the workforce to be vaccinated or to subject themselves to regular testing.

After much consideration, the leadership of the PSOJ has decided that at this point it is not required based on the results of our internal surveys. The surveys conducted amongst members of the private sector indicated that 30% of the workforce is willing to take the vaccine and another 33% are indecisive and are still making their assessments to arrive at a decision.

Notwithstanding these results, the PSOJ is not ruling out the possibility that stronger measures may have to be taken in the foreseeable future to ensure that Jamaica gets to some level of normalcy and stability as quickly as possible.

Keith Duncan, President, PSOJ

In commenting on the hesitancy in the workforce, PSOJ President Keith Duncan appealed to the undecided, “Jamaica currently has ample supply of vaccines, and I am making a strong appeal to Jamaicans to get off the fence, make good sense prevail and go into one of the many vaccination sites and get vaccinated to save your life, the lives of your family and communities.”

National Vaccination Mobilisation Effort

The PSOJ is recommending that the Government of Jamaica engages critical stakeholders such as the churches, trade unions, private sector, the Opposition and other civil society groups into a national vaccination mobilisation effort. This effort is urgently needed at this time to boost the MOHW’s public education programme and to neutralise the preponderance of misinformation. All these stakeholders must be encouraged to actively mobilise all their constituents to get vaccinated in order to save lives and to get Jamaicans, especially the more vulnerable in our workforce and micro, small and medium enterprises back to work.

Current data indicates that 96% of those that are treated for COVID19 at the University Hospital of the West Indies are unvaccinated. We believe this is a good representation of what is occurring across all our public hospitals that are buckling under the pressure. Our nurses, doctors and all public health workers are put at significant risk and are overwhelmed and exhausted as they do their best to contend with this third wave.

Current Private Sector Measures

The PSOJ continues to drive its vaccination and public education of the workforce through the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative (PSVI) which has vaccinated over 5,000 workers since July 2021 and is now looking to significantly grow the numbers of employees vaccinated.

Duncan added, “We are pleased to see so many of our private sector companies on board to support the vaccination and education efforts.

Work from home push

“I am also strongly recommending to the business community across the island, not only those who fall within the membership of the PSOJ, to pursue greater work from home policies to reduce movement and the crowding on public transportation. Jamaica needs a united front moving with urgency to educate and mobilise our people to do the right thing and get vaccinated.”

The PSOJ extends condolences to the family and friends of the over one thousand Jamaicans who have lost their lives as a result of COVID19.

Gratitude to Public Health workers

The Organisation also expresses gratitude to the Public Health personnel who continue to sacrifice their own wellbeing and put themselves at great risk to save lives. We strongly encourage all Jamaicans to do the right thing – get vaccinated.