Vaccines and lockdowns are effective
The COVID-19 vaccine, along with other measures, has proven tobe effective. (Photo: Pexels)

Dear Editor,

I attended a virtual presentation on the various responses to the novel coronavirus pandemic at one of the top universities in the world. The response was compared to layers of swiss cheese stacked together, each having multiple holes — loop holes. The idea was that no response was perfect, and each layer helped to cover the holes of the other, reducing the risk of any alignment of perfect holes within the stack of layers. The response has included vaccination, social distancing, masks, sanitising, enhanced indoor ventilation, contact tracing, lockdowns, etc.

No one ever suggested that vaccines and lockdowns were perfect solutions. Neither is herd immunity. In fact, herd immunity comes with greater risks — serious illness from infection, death, the risks of overwhelming the health-care sector, and the added burden to the economy. It is unfortunate that herd immunity is often pushed by health-care workers, people who are actually in the sector and know the effects. They've seen what hospitals are like when capacity is full, they've seen what happens when other patients must be turned away. They've seen the stress on hospital workers who must work long hours in a crisis environment.

The various responses, including vaccination, help to reduce the risks of severe outcomes, which stretch resources to the max. They allow health authorities some room to breath as they manage the many facets of the pandemic.

Two years into the pandemic, lockdowns might not be as effective as they were earlier on, when little was known about the virus and how it spread, and changes were constantly being made in the approach to fight the outbreak. Lockdowns, however, helped to reduce the risk of infection through social interaction. Most countries had some form of lockdowns, some more severe than others. They would not have been used if they weren't effective.

There have been multiple arguments about the pandemic. Some say the pandemic isn't real and there are more deaths in places like Jamaica from crime than COVID-19. Some argue that the annual death rate in the world is in line with previous years, so where is the pandemic? Others have questioned the safety of vaccines. The truth is, a pandemic is not defined by number of deaths, it is more about infections and the rate at which infection spreads across multiple countries causing severe illness and death.

The long-term effects among patients who have survived COVID-19 is still being studied. However, there is enough data to suggest that serious side effects can linger, which debunks the idea that we should focus on natural immunity.

It is also ludicrous to suggest that governments around the globe could be colluding to control the eight billion people who make up the world's population, spread across vast georaphical regions with different time zones, languages, cultures, and customs. How could this be done, and what would be the point? Such an objective would have been more successful using cellphones, which can be easily tracked and compromised.

As for vaccines, we rely on the expertise of national health boards in each country to review and assess safety and effectivness of all medicines — over-the-counter and otherwise. Over three billion people in the world — 43 per cent of the global population – are now fully vaccinated, with close to zero per cent in fatalities.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, and we must strive to look at arguments rationally and not emotionally. We should keep an open mind, listen as much as we talk, and use logic and reason to form our assesments and opinions.

P Chin

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