In a few short weeks, certainly before Christmas, we will have achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of herd immunity here in Antigua and Barbuda, and at that time, our economy will completely open for business. Of course, it appears increasingly likely that those who opt not to acquiesce to the vaccine mandates, will become pariahs, finding it rather difficult to go about business as usual.
Based on reports from those in high places, hundreds of Antiguans and Barbudans have been flocking to the various vaccination sites to avail themselves of the jab. After all, they have been faced with the very real possibility that they will have to go into the “underground” economy, if they insist on not taking the jab. Almost on a daily basis, more and more businesses are announcing that only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter their premises to conduct business. It is a conundrum for those who have been halting between two opinions, still unvaccinated. Clearly, the survival of the unvaccinated, in a world demanding vaccination, will depend on their ability to navigate the many roadblocks that they will increasingly encounter. Talk about being on the needle of a dilemma!
As you are aware, many of those who flocked to get the jab, did so upon pain and peril of death, so to speak. They were bludgeoned over their heads, deprived of their jobs, cussed and ridiculed and disparaged, unless they found religion. Many did. Think, the exigencies of survival!
Clearly, for this pathetic administration, “the end justified the means,” no matter how indefensible and odious they are; no matter how immoral, or highhanded or coercive. So Sad! This vainglorious administration had no confidence in its own ability to gently persuade and educate and lead the people down the path of vaccine righteousness. By its very vaccine mandate, this administration is admitting that it is feeble and ineffective, a failure.
We here at NEWSCO are in favour of the national vaccine effort, but we are opposed to the mandating of vaccines. We believe that Antiguans and Barbudans ought not to be bullied, kicking and screaming to the hypodermic syringe. Rather, folks should be provided with all the information needed for them to make an informed decision, then left to make up their own minds. We subscribe to the position taken by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, to educate and persuade, rather than mandate. The vaccines are safe and efficacious. They are doing what they were designed to do – protect us from serious illness and possible death. The undeniable fact of the matter is that the vast majority of those who have been hospitalised, and those who have succumbed to the ravages of Covid-19, are the unvaccinated. That consideration alone should propel the hesitant to step up as a matter of urgency. The vaccine saves lives!
Of course, it is not enough only to be vaccinated. We have to continue, for a while yet, with the mask-wearing, the good social distancing, the frequent washing of hands, the boosting of our immune systems and so on and so forth. There simply is no other way, especially bearing in mind the fact that almost all the cases that we are seeing here in Antigua and Barbuda, and the rest of the region, are of the dreadful Delta variant. Delta is extremely contagious and deadly. We cannot be too careful.
And so it goes . . . the fight must continue . . .
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