New Task Force Kick-Starts Tourism Worker Vaccination Drive Today – Bartlett

Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has revealed that work by the newly named Tourism Vaccination Task Force, which was established to facilitate the vaccination of all tourism workers island-wide, is well underway, with the roll-out of vaccination sites locally. The task force has organized a series of vaccination blitzes, which officially begin today (August 30), at strategic sites across the island. 

“The task force has been working assiduously since its first meeting on August 20, to ensure that we make it easier for our tourism workers to have access to the vaccines. We are so grateful to our partners who have made it possible for us to begin our series of vaccination blitzes today, which will undoubtedly bring us closer to our national goal of herd immunity,” said Minister Bartlett.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett

“Our target is to ensure that all 170,000 tourism workers are vaccinated and protected from the possible harm that can come from contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus and its variants. This will aid in our recovery efforts for the sector and by extension the country,” he added. 

Jamaica Tourism Minister Bartlett emphasized that “this initiative is aimed at encouraging our tourism workers to take the vaccine voluntarily, so vaccination is not mandated. The vaccination of tourism workers is key to tourism’s full recovery. So, I encourage all our tourism workers to get vaccinated to play your part in safeguarding our tourism sector.”

He outlined that vaccination blitzes are organized for the Pegasus, Kingston, today August 30, 2021; Sandals Negril, Negril on September 2, 2021, and at Moon Palace, Ochi Rios on September 3, 2021. The vaccination blitz to be hosted at Moon Palace, in particular, will target 1,000 tourism workers. 

The task force is working in tandem with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and various tourism stakeholders, both within the public and private sectors, to streamline and expedite the vaccination of tourism workers.

The vaccination blitzes are being hosted in collaboration with the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative. The sites for Montego Bay, Port Antonio and the South Coast will be determined at a later date.

However, other proposed sites for future vaccination activities for the tourism sector include: Emancipation Park, Kingston; Harmony Beach Park, Montego Bay; Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier; Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth; and the Port Antonio Cruise Ship Pier. 

Among the persons being targeted are workers in hotels, villas and guest houses, attractions, airports, cruise ports, craft markets as well as ground transportation operators.

The task force, which was named by Minister Bartlett earlier this month, is co-chaired by the Tourism Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Jennifer Griffith, and President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Clifton Reader.

The other members include Chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Ian Dear; Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godrey Dyer; Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch; Director of Tourism, Donovan White; President and CEO, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor Gordon Shirley; Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC), Joy Roberts; Acting Executive Director, TPDCo, Stephen Edwards; Executive Director of Chukka Caribbean Adventures and Chairman of the COVID-19 resilient corridors management team, John Byles;  Executive Chairman, Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart; First Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and former JHTA President, Nicola Madden-Greig; Senior Advisor and Strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright; and General Manager of Deja Resorts, Robin Russell.  

The group will be expanded to include representatives from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Jamaica Defense Force. The members of the task force, which met today, are expected to meet again later this week, to fine-tune arrangements to ensure the target of a fully vaccinated tourism workforce is met.


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Ministry of Tourism 

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Kingsley Roberts

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Linda Hohnholz