Jamaica among countries at the bottom of the global pile of fully vaccinated peopleSunday, October 03, 2021
The biggest vaccination campaign in the history of humanity is underway, and Jamaica has the dubious distinction of being among countries at the bottom of the global pile of fully vaccinated people.
The news gets decidedly uglier when Jamaica is compared with other Caricom countries where, with our 8.6 per cent of fully vaccinated people, we are doing only better than Haiti which has 0.2 per cent fully vaccinated.
When it's poor, battered, bruised, brutalised and abused Haiti you are being compared with, it's time to wake up. Jamaicans have to summon the spirit of hational Heroes Nanny, Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle and Marcus Garvey, move past the various obstacles in the way and get inoculated…now.
It's easy to see how much better we could be doing if more people took their jabs. According to Reuters COVID-19 Tracker, the average number of new infections reported each day in Jamaica fell by more than 370 over the last three weeks, which is 53 per cent of its previous peak.
“COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Jamaica, with 320 new infections reported on average each day. That's 45 per cent of the peak — the highest daily average reported on September 6,” the wire service reported yesterday. Imagine if we had even 16 per cent inoculated.
There have been 84,069 infections and 1,877 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began. We can do so much better if more Jamaicans step forward to get the vaccination, and that is without looking to the ones we know do not have the ability to be persuaded to do what's right for themselves much less for the rest of us.
We have already lamented in this space the looming possibility that it is outside forces that are going to move Jamaicans to take their COVID-19 shots — forces such as the coveted American visa or the need to visit countries demanding full vaccination.
The vaccination has already started to create elite countries, notably Denmark, Sweden, and since Friday, Portugal which, because of high rates of vaccination among their peoples, have dispensed with COVID-19-inspired restrictions and protocols.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Portugal is now among the world's leaders in vaccinations, with roughly 86 per cent of its population of 10.3 million fully vaccinated, or about 98 per cent of all of those eligible for vaccines — meaning anyone over 12.
Just eight months earlier, Portugal's health-care system was, like ours, on the verge of collapse. Hospitals in the capital, Lisbon, were overflowing and the authorities were asking people to treat themselves at home. In the last week of January, nearly 2,000 people died as the virus spread, the newspaper said.
For those who have had it up to here with the novel coronavirus pandemic, the news is that at the current rate of vaccination, it will take another six months to cover 75 per cent of the global population.
Enough doses have now been administered to fully vaccinate 41 per cent of the world's population, but the distribution has been lopsided. Surprise! Surprise! The richest countries and regions are getting vaccinated more than 20 times faster than the poorest.
The bright spot is that 104 vaccines are in clinical trials on humans and 35 have reached the final stages of testing. Cuba is flying the flag for the Caribbean.