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Jamaica Launches COVID-19 Vaccinations  

Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 23, 2019.

Jamaica is launching its mass COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday, with healthcare workers being the first of more than 3,280 people to get their shots.

The vaccination program is getting underway as Prime Minister Andrew Holness warns there will be a national lockdown if the COVID-19 safety protocols do not slow down infections over the next three weeks.

Holness issued the warning Monday after accepting 50,000 doses from India.

The prime minister also appeared to single out people who put their interest ahead public safety, saying people who need “to party and go about not wearing your mask has to be balanced against the need against someone who will be deprived of care because we simply have no beds.”

Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor McKenzie is now urging people to avoid non-essential movement.

She made the appeal during a radio interview Monday, saying investigators are seeing more workplace clusters of infections and adding that more people link their exposure to transportation. She said people need to be off the street if they don’t need to be there.

So far, Jamaica has confirmed 26,904 infections and 454 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University Covid Resource Center.