COVID-19 Vaccination And Personal Choice

By Dr. Charles Greenidge

Whether you get vaccinated or not is a personal choice. Or is it? The pandemic is ongoing and has been for two years. We have seen more than 5 million people lose their lives during this time, and many more have lost their jobs and livelihoods.

The situation is particularly bad in the Caribbean as endeavors that have been disproportionately hard hit are tourism, entertainment, and education. Tourism alone accounts for 65% of our GDP. Schools have also been closed, and for various reasons, online schooling seems to be a poor substitute. This means, coming out of the pandemic, we will suffer another wave of reduced human resources, our primary resource in the Caribbean.

The longer the pandemic is allowed to continue, the worse this situation will get. Non-pharmaceutical measures such as wearing masks and social distancing have undoubtedly helped significantly reduce the rate of infection and, therefore, the damage caused by the pandemic.

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However, countries worldwide have found that these measures alone are not going to prevent the continued loss of life and destruction of economies. From a public health perspective, vaccinations will reduce the severity of illness from Covid infection, which will reduce hospitalizations and deaths and allow countries to open up.

If individuals don’t get vaccinated, then countries will not be vaccinated, and this pandemic will continue. So, as an individual, it is important to get vaccinated and encourage others to do so. This will go a long way to ending the pandemic.

There has been a lot of negative information distributed to the public about the vaccines, but any analysis of the facts will show that the vaccines are safe and effective.

Recently we have seen trade unions come out in support of their members’ rights not to vaccinate. However, if trade unions are to support their membership, should they not be encouraging their members to get vaccinated? Then, the uncomfortable consideration of mandating vaccines would not even be an issue within trade union membership.

Vaccines are safe and effective and important to get out of this pandemic. When you get vaccinated, it will help prevent you from getting ill and allow you to continue to work and play. To quote from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, “What injures the hive injures the bee.”

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of St Lucia Times.

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