I'm tired of hearing weak arguments from anti-vaxxers and others about Prime Minister Andrew Holness's controversial remarks, “Argument done,” referencing those who continue to refuse COVID-19 vaccines.
Now, I'm not a fan of Prime Minister 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 governanance. 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 prime minister'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 when necessary, and make decisions in the best interests of themselves and their families.
The prime minister was simply saying that those who refuse to be vaccinated must deal with the consequences of their choices.
There is currently no cure and no single treatment proven to be 100 per cent effective and safe. The approach Jamaica is taking in the fight oagainst COVID-19 is not different from other countries. Vaccines are not the cure, but they offer an additional layer of protection to reduce the risks of serious infection and death from the virus.
Complaining about “unanswered” questions in the midst of a pandemic is absurd, considering that the virus is new and scientists around the world are continuing to study and learn about its behaviour — its mutations — 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 evidence. This is how science works.
There is no Government or health organisation with all the answers, otherwise the pandemic would've ended already. 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 restricting crowds, wearing masks, social distancing, and using vaccines to reduce the risk of infection and serious illness and death if one gets infected.
Yes, many vaccinated individuals have been infected all over the world, but the data still shows that the unvaccinated are at a significantly higher risk. I've known of vaccinated people 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 with underlying conditions, are at a higher risk of ending up in hospitals or dying.
Of course, the Government could improve the management of COVID-19, especially in public relations and vaccine site management.
Two years into the pandemic it is becoming clear that only time, aided by scientific advancements, will effectively end this crisis. People must also take more responsibility for themselves and others around them.
Those who challenge protocols, vaccines, mask mandates, and 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 and 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 20 per cent. The rest of the Caribbean is averaging 40 per cent and the global population is 50 per cent. First World countries have already reached 70 per cent, to put things into context.
The prime minister cannot be blamed for the low vaccination rate when people deliberately refuse to take the vaccine, and this is why he was so blunt in his statement. Argument done!