Written by Tasha Ann Miller
August 10, 2021
Portmore Stories is a news series highlighting issues in the Portmore municipality with a focus on real time solutions for the benefit of its citizens. This series also focuses on government services, and how they can effectively serve a dynamic and fast growing community.
The process of COVID19 vaccine distribution observed at the Greater Portmore, Health Center today almost erupted into chaos due to citizens being confused by the disorganized vaccination system. Upon arrival at the health center after four (4) in the afternoon, I observed a long queue outside the building. People were inquiring about appointments done online via the Ministry of Health’s website versus people who had walked in to get the vaccine. There was a disparity as talks of the inefficiency of the health ministry’s online process was perpetuated. People were allegedly assuming that the online system did not work despite it being advocated by the Ministry of Health’s public relations campaigns.
Lead Nurse, Cameron, stated that she was unaware of appointments being done via the Ministry of Health’s website. She also advised that the process was not followed as persons were not coming in time for the appointment and so walk-ins would replace that.
At the time of creating my appointment, the Greater Portmore Health Clinic was the only available location with time slots. Furthermore, Nurse Cameron had earlier advised that she was unable to separate those who had appointments from walk-ins as people would get upset. However, I observed a fairly smooth, and quick process inside. The number system was used to organize persons on the inside of the building. and they would get vaccinated as per the number assigned. This number system was paused at the time of the growing queue on the outside. This created tension, and I requested that the lead nurse intervened and communicate with the people accordingly, as persons were on time for the vaccination as per the online appointment.
The number system was later resumed and the line observed on the outside was drastically reduced when I left the health center. A citizen who I had left on the outside advised me that several persons left. Nurse Cameron also advised me that the matter was resolved, though she did not explain in detail.
Therefore, the Ministry of Health needs to clearly administer the process for getting vaccinated. Furthermore, there is also a vaccination center on the St. Catherine listing on the health ministry’s website that is still being visited even though it is not functioning as an active site.
The Ministry of Health must be prepared to deal with an increase in the uptake of the vaccines so that people are not misguided and reject the offer.
The Hope Vision blog will continue to keep you updated on the developments and functioning of public service entities in the Portmore municipality.