Mon | May 16, 2022

Letter of the Day | PM’s ‘argument done’ taken out of context

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I’m tired of hearing weak arguments from anti-vaxxers and others about the prime minister’s controversial remarks, “argument done”, referencing those who continue to refuse COVID-19 vaccines.

Now, I’m not a fan of PM Holness, I’ve found him at times to be arrogant, unassertive, combative, and he rarely takes risks and make bold decisions as a leader to improve governance. The recent Cabinet shuffle, for instance, was a big joke. Nevertheless, as far as the pandemic is concerned, I believe the Government is trying and, so far, they’ve done a good job managing the crises, despite the many challenges.

The PM’s comment, “argument done”, was taken out of context and used by some to push an agenda. No one is forced to take the ‘jab’. People must assess the situation, sift through information, seek advice where necessary, and make decisions in the best interests of themselves and their families.

The PM was simply saying those who refuse to be vaccinated must deal with the consequences of their choices. There is currently no cure, or no single treatment, that has proven to be 100 per cent effective. The approach Jamaica is taking in the fight against COVID-19 is not different from other countries.

Vaccines are not the cure, yet they offer an additional layer of protection to reduce the risks of serious infection and death from the virus. Asking ‘unanswered’ questions in the midst of a global pandemic is absurd, considering that the virus is new and scientists around the world are continuing to study and learn about the virus – its behaviour, its mutation – in an effort to curb the spread. We rely on scientists and experts to use their knowledge to guide us as more information becomes available, backed by factual evidence. This is how science works. There is no government or health organisation with all the answers, otherwise the pandemic would’ve already ended. What they are trying to do is to make the best decisions to cope and to reduce the risks.

We know that a layered approach works best, that is, following protocols and restricting crowds, such as wearing masks and social distancing, and using vaccines to reduce the risk of infection, serious illness and death if one gets infected. Yes, many vaccinated persons have been infected all over the world, but the data still show that the unvaccinated are at a significantly higher risk. I’ve known of vaccinated persons who were infected, they had mild symptoms and were able to isolate and treat themselves at home; and most recovered within a week. Those who are unvaccinated, especially persons with underlying conditions, are at a higher risk of ending up in hospitals or dying. You cannot be vaccinated and think you’re immune. Of course, the Government could improve the management of COVID-19, especially in public relations and vaccine site management.

TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY

After two years into the pandemic, it is becoming clear that only time, aided by scientific advancements, will effectively end this pandemic. People must also take more responsibility for themselves and others around them. Those who challenge protocols, the vaccines, mask mandate, as well as the information coming from experts are doing themselves a great disservice, while putting communities at risk. In many countries, including Jamaica, hospitals are facing a crisis with the dramatic increase in COVID-19 patient intake. People continue to die daily from the virus. Most educated Jamaicans have taken the vaccine to reduce risks; they also know they cannot travel outside Jamaica without proof of vaccination. Meanwhile, Jamaica continues to be in a precarious position with its low vaccination rate of 22 per cent. The rest of the Caribbean is averaging 40 per cent, and the global population is 50 per cent fully vaccinated. First-World countries have already reached 70 per cent, to put things into context.

The PM cannot be blamed for the low vaccination rate when people deliberately refuse to take the vaccine. This is why he was so blunt in his statement, “argument done”.

P. CHIN

chin_p@yahoo.com