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“Take the vaccine,” 22-year-old youth advocate Kamalie Mannix urged as he sought to educate other young people about the serious iconsequences of not doing so.

“The more persons that are vaccinated, the more you can stop the spread of the virus, and if you can’t stop the spread of the virus, you will at least reduce the risk of hospitalisation and transmission. We need a drastic solution because our cases have been rising by leaps and bounds,” Mannix said.

“If this virus continues unchecked…then we run the risk of not only economic catastrophe, but we run the risk of a public health disaster. It [the vaccine] not only protects your health and your nation’s health, but it also enables some sort of transition back to normalcy,” he said fervently.

Mannix, who is also a teacher at the Sir Novelle Richards Academy, said he believes that the arguments being put forward by those who are opposed to taking the Covid-19 vaccines are “frivolous”.

“The reality is, for anybody who is especially above the age of 16, your body at this point is actually a walking vaccine bottle. Because the reality is, from the time you were about three months old you would have gotten a series of vaccines, one behind the other, in different stages in your life.

“I’m sure most people can say that none of those vaccines has ever killed them. It has managed to protect us from a bunch of other diseases that could have otherwise killed us ,” Mannix remarked

He also posited that the speed in which the Covid-19 vaccines were developed – an argument presented by sceptics — can be looked at in two ways.

“This is the 21st century,” Mannix said. “When the polio vaccine and all of those were made, we are talking about the 1900s technology; it was different then than what it is now.”

Secondly, he continued, “a lot of individuals who were championing the cause for various vaccines often had to find funding from all sorts of different places…the phenomena is different now because from the time Covid managed to shut down, literally, every single nation, a lot of organisations literally pumped billions and billions of dollars into funding research for a vaccine”.

He is therefore urging young people to get vaccinated against the deadly virus for the sake of their friends, family members, and the nation on a whole.

Mannix is also the President of the National Youth Parliament, however although he was not speaking on behalf of the association, he added that the activities that young people enjoy most will “realistically be impossible” if Antigua and Barbuda does not achieve herd immunity.

 “If our population is not vaccinated and our borders remain open as they are now, then you can’t have a carnival; as a matter of a fact you can’t have any sort of major gathering,” he said.

Meanwhile, Observer spoke to several young people, most of whom shared that they would prefer to wait to see the after-effects of the vaccine on others who have taken it before making their decision.

“I don’t know what it will do to me. I need to see what happens first, then maybe I will take it,” one young woman said.

A male student of theAntigua State College shared the same sentiment, adding that, “we need to know more about the vaccine, its effects and so on in order to make an informed decision”.

Antigua and Barbuda rolled out its Covid-19 vaccination programme on February 17 with approximately 64 frontline workers receiving their first dose from a batch of 5,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the government of Dominica.

Another gift of approximately 40,000 doses of the same vaccine is expected to arrive on island today, compliments of the Government of India.