The vaccine roll-out

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It was with some amusement that we observed the vaccine roll-out here in Antigua and Barbuda. As with everything here in our fair State under this befuddled administration, it had its fair share of problems. For example, there was a bit of a shouting match at some of the sites, and at one of them, the good Minister of Health had to raise his voice over a few angry persons waiting to be vaccinated, some for as long as five hours.

To be fair, we here at NEWSCO believe that the glitches with this vaccination programme are not all the fault of the administration, never mind that we believe that they had more than enough time to adequately prepare and plan. Moreover, we are more than a bit baffled as to why the roll-out was limited only to the polyclinics at Glanvilles and Villa, the Multipurpose Centre at Perry Bay, and the Sir Novelle Richards Academy in Potters. (They have since added a few new sites) Sigh! The mind wobbles at the amazing way in which this woebegone administration unfailingly finds a way to turn the simplest things into rocket science. (Shaking our heads). Seems to us, unless there is a shortage of nurses in the clinics, the vaccine roll-out should be a rather simple matter of persons journeying to their nearest community clinic for the jab. Let us utilise as many of the community health clinics as possible. Simple.

Meanwhile, we understand that a goodly number of our first responders have been vaccinated, as have many of our men and women over 65 years old. Yesterday was dedicated to those in that category. We understand that workers from Clarevue, the Hospice Centre, The National Solid Waste, the APUA, the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority, the ABS staff, teachers, persons with disabilities, and so on and so forth will be vaccinated on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week. All well and good. Seems, wheels are turning, despite the less than stellar efforts of this administration.

Sadly, there was this bit of disturbing news in Wednesday’s Cabinet notes: “The CMO pointed out that the number of infections across the country continues to increase, principally carried by asymptomatic people who spread the virus unknowingly to vulnerable others with whom they interact, without obeying the protocols.” Of course, the Cabinet notes were merely restating what we all already knew – Covid is still raging.

It was with some consternation that we noticed the alarming uptick in Covid deaths (17), as well as Covid infections (803 as of March 3). It almost seems as if all hell is breaking loose here in our fair State, never mind the 6 pm curfew and other restrictions, such as restaurants still not being able to accommodate in-house dining. Hopefully, we have turned the corner in this macabre dance of death. It is painful.

Folks, let us continue to cooperate with the ruling apparatus, as feeble and as feckless as they may be. It is all that we have for the time-being. Our dearest leader, he who could not resist his worst instincts and turn down a top-of-the-line vaccination that was supposedly offered to him by a family in a high place, has clearly shown that notwithstanding his pretensions and protestations, he is NOT one of us. He has cast his lot with the rich and the powerful. It was a big slap in the face to us plebeians when we saw other leaders around the region taking the same vaccine as their people, . . . and ours . . . . well . . . (Sigh!) Needless to say, history will be the judge.

In the meantime, let us continue pulling together; at least, those of us who are in this boat, (except for the high and mighty deserters), tied together by what the good Dr. Martin Luther King Jr calls,”our single garment of destiny.” Said King, ” We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be, until you are what you ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.” Hmmmm! Food for thought, indeed.

In this time of Covid, I believe that our better selves will come to the fore. Let us be considerate. Let us patiently wait until those who need the vaccine most, are first taken care of. Let us assist our fallen brothers and sisters, in ways big and small. It becomes us.

Let the vaccinations roll on!

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