COVID-19 vaccines are hopeful signs


COVID-19 vaccines are hopeful signs

...but still be vigilant and careful


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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The development and roll-out of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus is certainly one of the most spectacular feats in medical history. In under a year, humankind was able to develop a vaccine against a virus that had proven to be a formidable enemy.

As the pandemic raged and started to kill hundreds of thousands of people the entire world cowered in fear in their homes as societies were locked down and the entire world economy came to a grinding halt. Seldom in the history of humankind has an unseen enemy like this wreaked such havoc.

We have had the bubonic plague and the 1918 pandemic, to name just two of the deadly maladies that have plagued us. Now it is the 2019 novel coronavirus. This time around, medical discoveries, especially in the area of vaccines, have given us greater ability to fight viruses and other pathogens. Last week in Britain, and last Monday in the United States, real hope was established as effective vaccines have been developed and administered. China and Russia have also rolled out vaccines, but their effectiveness has been questioned given the lack of transparency and the shroud of secrecy that have attended these efforts.

We can now breathe easier that, at last, we can see a light that our ordeal is coming to an end. We can now entertain greater optimism that our lives will return to some semblance of normalcy; although, for the most discerning, many things would have changed irrevocably by the devastation caused by the virus.

Immediately, problems still remain, the first of these being the continued dangers posed by COVID-19. While we rejoice at what vaccines can do, thousands of people are still being infected, threatened, and actual lockdowns of societies are taking place, with hospitalisation rates and attendant spikes in the number of people dying from the virus rising at alarming levels.

The bottom lline is that the virus is still with us and we cannot afford to relax our vigilance, even in the context of the hope held out by vaccines. There has to be renewed determination to observe the protocols that have served us well since March. If you get infected now there is no guarantee that the virus may not kill you before the new year. It will be some time before one can get vaccinated and for it to work its 'magic' on us. So, we have to be careful.

Even when the vaccine becomes available there will be some resistance towards taking it. Vaccines only work when people become vaccinated, but in this post-truth world in which we live an abundance of falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and myths exist. There is genuine fear among some people that the vaccine can be harmful, especially to black people. Some argue that they will not be the guinea pigs for this effort. And, of course, there are the religious myths and fabrications which abound and which will drive many to the back of the line. Some may not even want to join a line, preferring instead to rely on an elusive belief in God's goodness to magically protect them. And let us be clear, vaccines are not the work of the Antichrist!

This is all a testimony to what can be accomplished when human ingenuity is bent to the task of human survival. When taken, especially in the trial stages, they testify to human bravery in the face of great tragedy. This is something that God applauds.

Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest, social commentator, and author of the book WEEP: Why President Donald J. Trump Does Not Deserve A Second Term . Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

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