By Carlena Knight
A teary-eyed President of the Senate, Alincia Williams-Grant, yesterday encouraged members of the public to get vaccinated for Covid-19 as soon as they are able.
Williams-Grant was speaking during the first sitting of the Senate for 2021, when she urged residents to not only take the pandemic seriously and abide by the various protocols, but also to get inoculated, revealing that she had lost her mother to the virus earlier this month.
“No doubt you would have heard the statistics over the weekend in the US where over 500,000 — that’s half a million people — have died. That is basically five times the population of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Over 500,000 persons in good old USA, the most progressive country we have heard of for all of our lives, have died from this dreaded disease, and my mother who died on February 4th is one of those in that statistic,” she revealed.
“It came home very hard for us and within a week of contracting or being exposed to this dreaded disease, I lost my mother before she could be vaccinated.
“I implore all of us to not listen to people talk just out of ignorance sake, or because they have a personal vendetta; read and think for yourself,” Williams-Grant said.
She is also admonishing persons who may be sceptical about taking the AstraZeneca shot to do their own research and seek out medical professionals for the right answers.
The Senate president noted that it is the responsibility of everyone to disseminate information which is accurate and not misleading.
“Freedom comes with responsibility and for me it’s a responsibility for others — people we love, people we don’t know, people we will never encounter.
“We must bear that in mind when we are on these talk shows and when we write on social media. I know technology is free now but with that freedom there is a heavy responsibility, a burden lies on all of us.
“I am telling you if you have the opportunity to take the vaccine to protect yourself and protect your family, to protect your mom, then do it and thank the government of Antigua and Barbuda that they are doing their darndest to get this available to all of us,” she said.
Leader of Government Business, Senator Mary Clare Hurst, also echoed the sentiments expressed by Williams-Grant by encouraging the public to get vaccinated and to abide by the health protocols.
“This is not an issue that is plaguing us here in Antigua; it’s a pandemic. It affects us all and we need to start to make the right decisions.
“This thing is getting out of hand here in Antigua and the government has made an effort to provide a vaccine for us which can help us to try and get back to some sort of normalcy. It is up to me and, more so, it is up to you to follow the protocols and get vaccinated,” said Hurst.
Last week, frontline workers and parliamentarians were among approximately 400 residents who received their first dose of the shot when the national vaccination programme got underway.
Law enforcement officials, teachers and the elderly are among those on the priority list as the programme continues. Recipients will receive the second dose 12 weeks after the first, health officials said.
The drive kicked off after the government of Dominica donated 5,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Antigua and Barbuda almost two weeks ago.