Letters & Opinion

Stop Punishing the Vaccinated!

By Brian Rodney

Governments the world over, including here in Saint Lucia, have to stop pussy-footing around this COVID-19 pandemic or else spikes, shutdowns and deaths will ALWAYS be around.

Ever since this pandemic broke out in in China in December 2019 and Saint Lucia in March 2020, we all knew that the only weapon to beat the virus has been a vaccine, which saw an unprecedented global effort by the world’s leading medical minds, with the full funding of governments, to allow us to find a way to push back — and this is why our best minds were able to find a solution in record time, not because of some Dan Brown conspiracy, but because we all worked together toward one goal as a species, maybe for the first time in our history.

Since the vaccines have been around the statistics have shown that they have worked, and continue to play a major role in reducing deaths and severe illness. Anywhere you go where people are getting COVID-19 and are hospitalized the data shows that over 90-95% of those persons are unvaccinated. More than that, if you are vaccinated and get the virus the data has shown that it will prevent severe illness or death.

These are the facts: the vaccines are working.

So why are we facing rising positive cases, lockdowns and curfews? It has nothing to do with the vaccine or the virus, instead it has everything to do with people’s stubbornness and ignorance.

Sorry, but in these crucial times I have no problem calling a spade a spade. Sadly, this is even more prevalent in the Caribbean which has shown itself to be both superstitious and conspiracy-minded.

All you have to do is look outward (to the developed countries) and you see full sports stadia and people going about their business, not lockdowns and curfews.

It is time for our leaders in the region to ‘grow-up a little bit’ as they would say and take strong and proactive action to increase vaccine uptake, or we are in for a very long ride. While the Caribbean is panicking over Delta and other variants, other countries where there is high vaccine uptake are already looking at COVID becoming nothing more than ‘an annoying childhood infection’ according to the New York post.

You might argue that there is a crisis in the US right now with rising cases; and I would agree there is a crisis yes, but it is a crisis of the UNVACCINATED!

Let that sink in! Almost all hospitalisations and deaths are people who are not vaccinated.

I have always been a proud Caribbean son, but this time I must admit that I hang my head in shame to hear some of the nonsense supposedly sensible people are spewing for not taking the vaccines, including this nonsense about even vaccinated people getting COVID.

Well yes, no one said they couldn’t, what they said is that it will prevent you from suffering, suffocating and possibly dying. In fact, there is only one official death reported from these ‘breakthrough cases’ that I can find – and now we hear of two. But even with that, the number is still dwarfed by the number of un-vaccinated going to hospital and dying.

And don’t tell me about the ‘media’ hiding the figures; if that’s the case what about the 4.5 million who have actually DIED from COVID that we know about, a figure I am sure is closer to 6 million because of cases not reported. Interestingly, a recent study done on such persons found that vaccinated persons who get COVID actually develop an even higher level of immunity.

And that brings me to my substantive point: we must STOP punishing those brave souls who stood up and got vaccinated and are doing what they can to help protect their lives, the lives of their families and yes, even the lives of those stubborn neighbours who refuse to get vaccinated.

If we are to be ‘Guided by the Science’, then we must take note of the fact that the statistics have shown that the vaccines are working, and we must guide people along those lines …for their own sakes!

Therefore, I am strongly suggesting that as we implement any sort of forced control measures such as curfews and lockdowns – and that fully vaccinated persons be EXEMPT from any such measures.

Like in most major hotels, workers engaging with each other and customers in places such as groceries, bars and restaurants etc., should be allowed to work only if they are fully-vaccinated; and customers and patrons who are fully-vaccinated should be allowed to go about their business as usual.

If our leaders are BRAVE ENOUGH to take this measure there are numerous advantages: it will allow some level of economic activity to continue so that we don’t stifle our business community; it will help control the spread of the virus without unwanted lockdowns; it allows persons who have been brave enough to get the vaccine to know that they have done the right thing and will not be punished for it; it will bring us in line with most modern, developing countries; and it sends a powerful message to those who choose to believe rumours and nonsense, that the world is moving on — and they either move with the world, or they stay right where they are.

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