Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Get vaxxed or get fired?

Published:Saturday | January 15, 2022 | 12:10 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The prime minister (PM), on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, officially stated that he will be putting in place measures to require vaccination for public sector workers; stressing the need to get the economy on track for the country to move on and noting that we cannot afford lockdowns or any further economic reprieve.

He noted that we should all learn to live with COVID-19, as the only way to defeat it.

The following realities challenge the logic of this authoritarian decree:

1. LEGITIMATE SAFETY CONCERNS

Two weeks ago, Dr Melody Ennis from the Family Services Division of the Ministry of Health noted that they have been noticing adverse effects from vaccines, the majority of which were reported in those 18 to 35 years old. The news report noted blood clots, paralysis of facial muscles, hospitalisations, and deaths as actual realities that have been faced by some citizens who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine.

The learned doctor further noted that one should expect about three persons out of every 100,000 vaccinated to get a blood clot. This means three in 100,000 persons would possibly face a stroke if the clot is in the brain; a heart attack, if it is in the vessels that serve the heart; pulmonary embolism; erectile dysfunction; and the list goes on.

How can the Government have this information then decide that tens of thousands of Jamaicans must get vaccinated or lose their jobs? Does the risk of morbidity or mortality not matter?

2. ARE VACCINES EFFECTIVE AGAINST OMICRON?

The virus has mutated. COVID-19 was found two years ago. This week, Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, stated, “we know that the two doses provide only limited protection if any” and went on to note that they will be creating a vaccine for Omicron. This was always a concern with the production of a vaccine for a mutating virus.

Why is the prime minister threatening to fire public sector workers if they do not get a vaccine which will not work for the dominant variant now ravaging the island and globe?

The most vaccinated countries like Gibraltar and Israel have not got away from COVID; they have the highest levels of COVID-19. Israel, with its 4th booster and 96 per cent vaccination, has seen more than a 9,000 per cent increase in infections this month. Should we really follow in their steps?

3. DON’T IGNORE THE FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCE OF NATURAL IMMUNITY

Natural immunity has been shown through a multitude of studies to be more resilient than vaccine-induced immunity, which causes an immunity that wanes month by month. Why would public sector workers who have had COVID, who are more robustly protected against COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated be forced to take the vaccine? To ignore natural immunity is to ignore fundamental science.

4. ECONOMIC PARADOX

Only 20 per cent of Jamaicans are vaccinated. One would think that the PM would want everyone, as close to 100 per cent as possible, to keep working hard to continue the rebuilding of the economy. Instead, he is threatening to make thousands of public sector workers unemployed, which would most certainly have a negative impact on the economy.

Mandatory vaccination does not lead to economic prowess, it leads to mass unemployment! Just ask the police force and fire department in Seattle who are facing a serious staffing issue after hundreds walked off the job due to mandatory vaccination.

It is clear that vaccination, much less mandatory vaccination, is not the way to defeat the virus. Thousands of Jamaicans should not face unemployment for something that our own government has said has safety concerns and which is decidedly ineffective against the spreading of the dominant Omicron strain and likely all future variants.

DR DANIEL THOMAS

Medical Doctor