Jamaica’s COVID-19 Strategy Raises Mistrust Among Rastafarians

Kingston, Jamaica

“I will give you the figure off the top of my head: ZERO!”

That was the reply of a health worker in one of Jamaica’s vaccine sites when asked how many Rastafarians had come to her to get a shot.  But she says she still hopes Rastafari elders will lead the way as Jamaica’s phased vaccine rollout continues. Jamaica received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in March, about a year after the virus arrived on the island.  The World Health Organization tracks vaccine distribution on the island. WHO Dashboard for Jamaica

But while Jamaica’s vaccine blitz exceeded the government’s targets with hundreds of people being turned away from vaccine sites, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is still urging every Jamaican to take the vaccine. Prime Minister Holness has gone on record saying vaccinations are critical for reopening the economy. “What would happen to Jamaica if we are considered a country that has not yet reached the threshold of vaccinations to be the destination of travel that we once were?

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