Jamaica to test if other COVID variants are here

Jamaica to test if other COVID variants are here

Jamaica is to send further COVID positive samples overseas to check whether other variants of the deadly disease are here.

On Monday, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton confirmed that the fast-spreading UK variant was detected in seven samples that were sent to Trinidad for testing several weeks ago.

According to Chief epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster Kerr, the turnaround time for testing for other COVID variants may take longer than it did to receive the results of the UK variant tests.

However, at a press conference Thursday, she said the government would be investigating whether other COVID variants are in Jamaica.

In the meantime, Tufton announced that the first 14,400 COVID vaccines under the COVAX facility are to arrive on Monday.

He said a total of 124,800 doses are expected by May, 2021.

Beyond that, beginning April 2021, some 1.8 million doses are to be supplied under the African Medical Supply platform.

2,718 people vaccinated on day one

Dr Melody Ennis, director of Family Health Services in the Health Ministry has reported that 2,718 health care workers and elderly people were vaccinated on the first day of the programme on Wednesday.

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She said of this number, there was a concern with 12 who showed side effects such as dizziness, vomiting and swelling.

However, they were treated and recovered in around 15 minutes, she said.

Vaccination administration report:
Western Region: 804 persons – 152% of target
North East Region: 514 persons – 99% of target
South East Region: 1,208 persons – 63% of target
Southern Region: 192 persons – 63% of target

Target for next week: 17,000 people

Meanwhile, Tufton has said there are signs that Jamaica may be seeing a plateauing of the increases in the COVID reproductive rate.

The reproductive rate is the average number of infections linked to one COVID patient.

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