Tue | Sep 28, 2021

Letter of the Day | We have a moral obligation to take the vaccine

Published:Friday | July 30, 2021 | 12:05 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is expected to receive some 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a gift from the British Government. We welcome this gift. Given what the world has experienced since the onset of COVID-19, one would think that all well-thinking Jamaicans would welcome this gesture and be standing in line to get some medical safety against this deadly virus. Alas, that’s not the case. Some Jamaicans don’t trust the science behind the vaccine, others following popular anti-vaccine opinions, and some people are just confused with the back-and-forth arguments.

As a recipient of the vaccine, I do believe that every Jamaican 18 years and older, barring those that should be medically exempt, has an obligation, I dare say moral obligation, to take the vaccine. While vaccination will not provide a 100 per cent immunity, with more citizens vaccinated, the better our chances of herd immunity. General acceptance of the vaccine will allow us to have some normality like we had prior to the pandemic. While I respect everyone’s right to choose, citizens are facing financial ruin, severe medical suffering, death and family disruptions that could lead to more problems eventually; all this could be minimised with more of our citizens vaccinated.

I heard the prime minister proposing to incentivise teachers who opt to take the vaccine and I do understand. I support the Government and organisations in imposing their authority to prevent harm and injury to others. I hope it does not come to this, but I have to side with the greater good; the principle of fairness obliges us to support the institutions that sustain us. Too many things will be at stake when we continue without vaccination. When most of the hospital personnel and resources are channelled in the recurring fight against COVID-19 because citizens will not adhere to COVID-19 restrictions, what will happen to citizens who are beset by and with other illnesses? The businesses that can’t operate effectively under lockdown conditions, unemployment increase and suddenly the economy is on the verge of collapse. Is that what we really want? Please take the vaccine and wear your mask.

The only thing I regret about the vaccine is that I took it before the incentives start rolling in.

FRANK PEART

Bronx, New York

frankpeart@yahoo.co.uk