KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Tourism is on a drive to get workers in the industry vaccinated against COVID-19, with incentives to encourage them to get the jab now under consideration.
“We are looking now at an incentive program with transportation and possibly some refreshment and entertainment and so on. Whatever it is going to take to get our people – the workers of the industry in particular – to register first and then to vaccinate, we will do,” said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
He said that the Ministry has already set up a special task force on tourism vaccination, which is led by Permanent Secretary, Jennifer Griffith and President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Clifton Reader.
“It’s a very well-rounded team of individuals who understand what the need for that vaccination process is and, more importantly, are committed to driving a program that will help to strengthen the ability of all of us to respond, whether by way of providing incentives for it or to come in with the communication strategies that will help to convince people to vaccinate,” he said.
Bartlett informed that he, too, is on a campaign to help push the process.
“I’ve visited a number of areas and encouraged people,” he said.
The Tourism Minister pointed out that there had been a big push for vaccination in the Ocho Rios area, prior to the arrival of the Carnival Sunrise cruise ship on August 16.
“In conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, we did a blitz for vaccination in the area that covered a number [of tourism workers and stakeholders]. We can’t say that it covered everybody because there is that level of hesitancy that is still in the system that we are working hard at,” he reported of that effort.
Encouraging everyone to continue managing the pandemic by first taking personal responsibility to protect themselves, Bartlett said: “The strongest way to do that is by taking the vaccine.”