As of Sunday, April 25 the number of Trinbagonians vaccinated stands at 34, 353 across the 21 centres, while simultaneously numbers of COVID positive cases have spiked with figures of over a hundred daily.
Being vaccinated is necessary. Several of our clergy have already received, including Archbishop Jason Gordon, and Pope Francis has also set the example. Despite this, there are still those who are expressing distrust and hesitation.
Misinformation has largely been to blame, with conspiracy theories spinning a web of suspicion.
They run the gamut of the vaccine’s changing the recipients’ DNA; that it contains a microchip to ‘track’ the individual (this one is bizarre as almost everyone has a smartphone which offers up a large amount of personal data anyway); and the vaccine being ‘the mark of the beast’.
Others argue that the development of the vaccine was “too quick”, and there is the fear of blood clots ( although this threat is minuscule and present in other forms of medication taken).
All these concerns can be allayed with a simple Google search on credible sites and, importantly, listening to the experts.
Fear of this vaccine is no different to anti-vaxxers’ belief that common immunisations cause autism, a claim refuted scientifically, and even anecdotally, given that all Trinbagonians would have had to be fully immunised before entering the school system. It is medieval thinking.
The Catholic News is attempting to assist in combatting the paranoid speculation. CAMSEL has joined a Consortium of Catholic Media designed to inform readers of the facts as promulgated by the experts in the field. If, however, facts do not matter, then what is the alternative envisioned by those refusing to be get the shot?
Will COVID-19 simply disappear at some point? The Black Plague eventually did some cite. History.com records the following: “The plague never really went away, and when it returned 800 years later, it killed with reckless abandon. The Black Death, which hit Europe in 1347, claimed an astonishing 200 million lives in just four years.”
The Spanish Flu occurred in waves after 1918, “The second and third waves claimed the most lives, with about half the deaths occurring among 20- to 40-year-olds, an unusual mortality age pattern for influenza. India is believed to have suffered at least 12.5 million deaths during the pandemic, and in the United States about 550,000 people died. Some scholars think the total number could be even higher” (Britannica.com). At least 50 million died worldwide.
The Church has time and time again, reminded of the responsibility to the common good, and being vaccinated not only serves the recipient but saves neighbours and family members by curtailing the spread.
Many are aching to a return to normal living. Motivation is flagging for schoolchildren tired of online schooling and desirous of the things adults take for granted or reminisce about on their own schooldays. The desire should be protection and concern for all.
In India, Brazil, and South Africa where the spread is dire, mutations have occurred. Recently, most would have read about the double mutant in India, on which there is suspicion of greater transmissibility.
This mutant, because we are a connected world, has arrived in Canada. Are we content in sacrificing the health and lives of others on non-scientific fears or confidence in our own health and immunity?
Already, the disparity in distribution of the vaccine between the First World and developing countries is evident. We now have the opportunity to impact the spread locally with responsible behaviour. Let us at the onset look after each other here in our island spaces.