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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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The nation may appear to be divided on the efficacy and safety of Covid-19 vaccines but Barbuda’s resident doctor is urging the elderly and other vulnerable people to take the shot.

Dr Jeremy Deazle concedes that getting inoculated against coronavirus is a personal choice, but said this is not the time to play guessing games about such a life-threatening matter.

Hesitancy among the general population about Covid-19 vaccines remains high, even as the national vaccination programme got underway yesterday with frontline medics first to receive the AstraZeneca jab.

“I honestly recommend the elderly and people who are at risk of getting Covid-19 to get these vaccines,” Dr Deazle said. “They are not obligated to get vaccinated but those most vulnerable should seriously consider getting it.”

Some residents are also concerned about the type of vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine was approved by the World Health Organization this week, but it is deemed to have lower efficacy than its Moderna and Pfizer counterparts.

“We have to be careful what we are listening to on social media. When the outbreak came people were begging and asking when are we getting some kind of treatment. Now that it has come, I believe it’s very important for us to realise that we have a preventative option and it’s available,” Dr Deazle said.

He said the Covid-19 vaccines are no different than shots taken for diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and polio.

“We have a few vaccines that are on the market and are available. We have our kids that are taking vaccines in order for them to go to school. We have those we take to prevent certain sicknesses,” he explained.

Furthermore, Dr Deazle argued that there are brilliant minds around the world and people work tirelessly behind the scenes to develop these vaccines.

“There’s been a lot of conspiracy about the vaccine, about whether people should take it or not. Let me say that we are in an age and era where technology is far advanced.

“What used to take us 20 years will now take us months to develop,” he said.

“Millions of people around the world have already been vaccinated and this is one of the keystones that would help stop the continued spread of the virus and prevent havoc. I fully support that the vaccine be used,” Dr Deazle added.