The Health and Wellness Ministry says some 16,000 healthcare workers have volunteered to be the first in line to take the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive in the island next week.

Jamaica is set to receive the first 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines as a gift from India on Monday.

In a statement last evening, the Ministry says later in the month, and after the vaccination of medical and health personnel would have already begun, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defense Force will be vaccinated.

People over 60 years-old will also gain access to the vaccines at that time.

The Ministry says this will account for the supplies projected to be received in March. It says in April, as additional stocks arrive, vaccination of the 60 and older age group will continue with the addition of the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the Department of Correctional Services.

The Jamaica Customs Agency, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA, workers in educational institutions at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels, will also be in that category.

The Ministry says the government has also included a category of public sector workers who interface directly with the public in the course of service delivery.

This batch includes cashiers, customer service agents, transport inspectors, JUTC bus drivers and conductors, case officers and other such personnel.

According to the Health and Wellness Ministry, this group is approximately 5,000 people.  It says government officials, including members of parliament, the judiciary, parish councillors, senior civil servants and senior technical officers will then be next in line for the vaccination.

It says members of those groups who are aged sixty and over, and have comorbidities, may seek to get vaccinated with the general pool of elderly folks.

COVID-19 Update

Jamaica has recorded seven more COVID-19 deaths in the Health Ministry’s latest update.

The deceased are a 32-year-old female and a 49-year-old male, both from Kingston and St. Andrew and a 56-year-old male from St. James.

The other deceased are a 68-year-old male and a 79-year-old female, both from St. Catherine, a 64-year-old male from Westmoreland and an 85-year-old female from St. Thomas. This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the island to 443.

Meanwhile, 332 new cases were recorded over the last 24 hours. This brings the number of confirmed cases to 24,776. 1,479 samples were tested, representing a positivity rate of 22%.

The majority of the cases are from Kingston and St. Andrew with 126 new cases. St. Catherine follows with 70 new cases while St. James had 45.

St. Ann recorded 23 new cases. St. Elizabeth and Manchester each recorded 17 new cases. Clarendon had 14 new cases while Hanover had 6.

Portland recorded 5 new cases. St. Thomas and Trelawny each recorded 3 new cases. St. Mary had 2 new cases while Westmoreland recorded one.

In the meantime, recoveries in the latest update stands at 143. This brings the number of recoveries to 14,012. 270 people have been hospitalised, 27 are moderately ill and 23 are critical.