The Ministry of Health & Wellness has been advised that the latest gene sequencing performed at the University of the West Indies identified the presence of the Omicron BA.4 and BA5 sub-variants in Jamaica.
Eighty-seven (87) samples were sequenced with sample dates from May 13 to July 11, 2022. All were identified as the Omicron variant.
Of the 87 samples with sequencing, 8 (9%) were BA.5 and 5 (6%) were BA.4 sub-variants.
National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster Kerr cautioned that “the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 according to World Health Organization (WHO) is the dominant variant globally and are highly transmissible. As a result, there may be an increase in number of COVID-19 cases.”
The public is encouraged to practice infection prevention and control measures, including wearing of masks, hand washing, physical distancing and staying home if you are sick.
The Ministry of Health & Wellness reminds the public that vaccines are widely available and protects against severe illness.
All persons 12 years and older should visit any of the over 200 vaccination centres to be vaccinated if they have not already done so. Persons who are eligible for boosters are encouraged to take the booster dose now as their level of protection may have waned over time.