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McKenzie reveals vax requirement for Trelawny Infirmary intake

Published:Friday | November 26, 2021 | 8:27 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

WESTERN BUREAU: Although noting that the Government remained committed to caring for all citizens, regardless of their standing in life, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has said that any new person being taken into the Trelawny Infirmary...

WESTERN BUREAU:

Although noting that the Government remained committed to caring for all citizens, regardless of their standing in life, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has said that any new person being taken into the Trelawny Infirmary will have to be fully vaccinated.

Visitors will also have to be fully inoculated against COVID-19 or present negative test results as the facility resumes facilitating visits with the Christmas season approaching.

The minister made the disclosure on Wednesday during a day of activities at the Rodney Street, Falmouth, facility – one of the smallest in the island – which has fewer than 100 residents.

“It is not that any person who is an anti-vaxer will be forced, but we must protect those for whom we provide care,” said McKenzie.

“I must inform you that 85 per cent of the residents have been vaccinated. Among staff members, 70 per cent are vaccinated,” said McKenzie.

“Throughout the world, we have one of the lowest number of people dying in our infirmaries. We must aim to keep it like that,” the minister said.

“This infirmary has less than 100 occupants, but my Government, which has since 2016 spent $700 million on infirmaries, is displaying here in Trelawny how caring we are for those who reside here,” McKenzie added as he also announced a $13-million infrastructural upgrade to improve the aesthetics of the facility and make it more comfortable for residents and staff.

“A therapeutic park, a fountain, improvements to the kitchen, painting of the building, and the erection of a fence, is all part of the work to be done,” McKenzie disclosed.

As part of efforts to free up space in hospitals in western Jamaica, the infirmary has also taken in some of the social patients occupying beds at the various health facilities.

“It is the intention of the Ministry of Health to look into what social patients are costing hospitals. They are occupying critical bed space and, by doing so, hamper the real reason for which hospital bed spaces are intended,” said McKenzie, in explaining the decision to move social patients to the infirmary.

leon.jackson@gleanerjm.com