Debates On Vaccination Delays Inoculation

THE drive to get unvaccinated Saint Lucians vaccinated has not been an easy one for people in support of the ongoing vaccination programme as hesitancy towards taking the jab continues to grow.

The pleas of health care professionals, politicians, civil society leaders and others to the unvaccinated to vaccinate, seems not to have increase the flow of people coming into vaccination centers to get the jab as more and more Saint Lucians are testing positive.

Now the vaccinated Saint Lucians are responding to those who refuse to vaccinate or are procrastinating, calling on them to take the jab.

The arguments for and against the taking of vaccines have been making their rounds on social media for quite some time now, not only in Saint Lucia but around the world including countries Saint Lucia tourism industry depends on like the United States of America and Canada.

Just last week the Toronto Star newspaper published an article entitled ‘When it comes to empathy for the unvaccinated, many of us aren’t feeling it’. The tweets from vaccinated individuals who refuse to empathize with the unvaccinated, were plastered on the Toronto Star’s front page, eliciting mixed reactions from readers.

Some of these reactions are as follows:

“Unvaccinated patients do not deserve ICU beds. At this point, who cares? Stick the unvaccinated in a tent outside and tend to them when the staff has time.”

“I have no empathy left for the willfully unvaccinated. Let them die.”

“If an unvaccinated person catches it from someone who is vaccinated, boo-hoo, too bad.”

“I honestly don’t care if they die from COVID. Not even a little bit.”

“According to a recent Angus Reid poll most vaccinated Canadians are indifferent to the unvaccinated getting sick with the virus, with 83 per cent saying they have no sympathy for those who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine and then fall ill. Anecdotally, patience is even wearing thin among health-care professionals.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, health officials are pleading with Saint Lucians to get vaccinated, saying it’s the only way to fight the virus. The pandemic has had a startling effect on Saint Lucia and continues to be a major challenge for the island. The number of COVID-19 cases are growing at an alarming rate, with double digits being registered daily.

Prior to press time yesterday the total number of active cases registered in country stood at 1,974 with 103 COVID-19 deaths. Four individuals are in critical care at the Respiratory Hospital.

Health officials continue to stress on the importance of getting vaccinated. To date less than 20% of the population has been vaccinated.

Vaccination levels might increase in the near future due in part to Saint Lucia receiving its first batch of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month. So far 2,234 individuals have received the first dose of that particular vaccine whilst 67 have received the second dose.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George stated that vaccination hesitancy is mostly among the younger age group who believe they are strong and therefore do not need the vaccine.

Mandatory vaccination has been a topic of discussion for some time now and many individuals believe that vaccination will soon be mandatory in Saint Lucia, however Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has said this won’t happen. The subject is divisive, however, experts believe individuals should follow the science.

According to the Ministry of Health, “Vaccination remains an effective measure in reducing severe illness, hospitalization and death from the COVID-19 virus. Individuals are encouraged to access the various vaccination sites and wellness centers to get vaccinated.”

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