WHEN Prime Minister Philip J Pierre, last week, said “trust the science” in response to a reporter’s question dealing with the COVID-19 situation in the country and the low interest of Saint Lucians in being vaccinated against the disease, he did not expect a public backlash from these three words.
Even memes were created out of that response. Saint Lucians were able to copy these three words and produce a humorous image, with a slight variation, on social platforms that elicited chuckles from those who saw it.
But was the Prime Minister’s statement, which he repeated several times during the press conference, something Saint Lucians should adhere to?
Plainly put, should Saint Lucians trust the science behind the vaccines which are now available to fight the virus?
Without hesitation we say yes, trust the science behind the vaccines. It is only by trusting the science behind those vaccines that you will get the strength and determination to get vaccinated.
And the science behind the vaccines is simply expressed. It is nothing outlandish, twisted or conspiratorial in its design. In other words, understanding the science behind vaccines is about how viruses and bacteria affect your immune system and what vaccines are made of. Understanding that can help you begin to appreciate how they help prevent you and all of us from suffering from dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases.
A cursory search on the internet will reveal that a healthy immune system helps protect you from getting sick by identifying and destroying intruders in your body, like bacteria and viruses. Vaccines teach your body how to fight these intruders so that when they get into your body, your immune system can fight them without making you sick.
“Vaccines are like a training course for the immune system,” says Northwestern Medicine Allergist and Immunologist Deeba Masood, MD. “They prepare the body to fight disease without exposing it to disease symptoms.”
So here’s how vaccines work, according to the research done by our editorial team: bacteria and viruses intrude into your body. Your body views them as intruders. These intruders try to get you sick. They attack and multiply.
Your immune system recognizes these intruders and produces special proteins called antibodies that can lock onto and destroy these intruders known as antigens. Vaccines use dead or weakened antigens, or parts of them like proteins, to trick your immune system into thinking there’s an intruder in your body.
As a result, your immune system creates antibodies to fight the antigen (intruder). Once your body knows how to make those antibodies, it stores the assembly instructions in “memory cells” and destroys the rest of the antigens present.
If the antigen ever makes it back into your body, your immune system will know how to assemble the antibodies to destroy the intruder quickly.
That is a simple description of the science behind the vaccines that are now available in Saint Lucia. The question is: Do you trust the science?
From where we stand we see no reason why the science behind the vaccines, or the simple description outlined above, cannot or should not be trusted. In addition to the science behind vaccines, there is also the irrefutable evidence of the statistics. Over a BILLION vaccines have been administered yet there have been very few adverse reactions. Further, the percentage of vaccinated persons seeking hospital care is so ridiculously small that the saying “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” comes to mind.
With respect to community immunity or what is popularly known as herd immunity the explanation or science is simple.
According to our research, if enough people in your community get a certain disease, it can lead to an outbreak. However, when enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, COVID-19 for instance, the germs can’t travel as easily from person to person and the entire community is less likely to get the disease.
Even if a person does get sick, there’s less chance of an outbreak because it’s harder for the disease to spread if a lot of people are vaccinated and therefore immune. Eventually, the disease becomes rare, and sometimes, it can be wiped out altogether, which is what happened with a very serious disease called smallpox. This is known as community immunity or herd immunity, and that’s the science behind it. Therefore, lets’ trust the science.
It might be rude but is nevertheless undeniable that failure to take the vaccine is stupidity bordering on lunacy.