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By Adia Wynter

Government’s intention to secure 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines – once available – to inoculate the nation is triggering diverse reactions from the public.

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) recently alerted the Ministry of Health that a Covid-19 vaccine is “not too far off”, government revealed this week. Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has been given authority by Cabinet to inform PAHO of Antigua and Barbuda’s intent to procure them. 

This news has garnered various responses from the populace. Some are looking forward to the arrival of these vaccines. One woman said, “Yes, I will take the vaccine because it will protect me from the coronavirus. So, I will take it.”

A teenage girl was also optimistic about the possibility of a probable solution to the spread of Covid-19. Her response was, “I don’t want to be walking around with Covid and not know. I want to be able to vaccinate myself so I don’t spread it to my family and others.”

 This feeling of hopefulness was not shared by everyone.

One man, Dwayne Burke, said that the vaccine is inessential. “I don’t know about that vaccine. I don’t think I need the vaccine to survive,” he explained. He went on to express his distrust for the vaccine and said that he would not want his friends or family to receive it either.

Another man sharing Burke’s standpoint detailed his reasoning for his scepticism.

“Tests take years; at least five to seven years for real clinical testing and then human trials. Anything before that, no. If it comes after that, yes,” he explained.

Another teenage girl also expressed apprehension towards the idea of a Covid-19 vaccine. She said, “Remember vaccines are built with bacteria… It’s not everything that is put out there that actually heals. It makes certain things worse. I’m not willing to take the chance.”

Notes released to media following this week’s Cabinet meeting said a date had not yet been fixed for dissemination of the vials, but that countries should indicate their desire to receive them to help PAHO determine how many it needs to order.

A revolving fund within PAHO will meet part of the cost of the supplies.

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