COVID DEATHS ROCK TRELAWNY
Former Gov't senator, businessman urge residents to get vaccinated after death of friendsThursday, August 26, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
FALMOUTH, Trelawny - Family members and friends of Derrick Rose, affectionately called Sarge, 53, and his pal Darrien Cassells, better known as Cheddy, 38, two popular businessmen and socialites, are still grieving their passing on Monday — hours apart — at the Falmouth Public General Hospital where they were admitted with COVID-19.
Among the mourners is a grief-stricken former Government Senator Dennis Meadows, who argued that the deaths of Cassells and Rose, who were both his friends, should not be in vain, but instead be used as a platform to campaign against COVID vaccine hesitancy.
“A condom or any other contraceptive doesn't offer absolute protection against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or pregnancy, but the odds are in your favour if you use or take it. Similarly, the vaccine doesn't offer absolute protection, but its efficacy makes you able to survive COVID-19 symptoms. It's giving yourself a fighting chance against the virus. Hesitancy obviously kills; my friends' death confirms that. If you fail to vaccinate, you're essentially surrendering yourselves and loved ones to grave illness and possibly death,” argued Meadows, during an interview with the Jamaica Observer West yesterday.
“Darrien [Cheddy] was a giver and he always sought to lend a helping hand. I want his untimely death to serve to move his friends and family who are hesitant, or reluctant for one reason or another, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. I'm a bit angry at my friends, particularly Cheddy and Sarge, for not giving themselves a fighting chance against COVID-19.
Another of the deceased close friends, Oliver Warren, a Trelawny businessman, who said he has so far taken one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, is also imploring anti-vaxxers to change their stance.
“I would encourage every single Jamaican to go out and take the vaccine because I have witnessed my two friends [Cassells and Rose] on the hospital beds asking for assistance, medication, and crying for doctor and nurse. So we have to tell every single person, even your worst enemy, to take the vaccine because you have to give yourself a chance,” Warren beseeched.
Shelly-Ann Martin, one of Rose's devastated nieces, concurred with Meadows and Warren.
“If this [vaccination] is the only chance there is, then it is logical to be vaccinated,” agreed the bereaved Martin, adding that she has started her vaccination process.
She revealed that her uncle, who has died leaving five children, had signalled his intention to get inoculated.
“It lick we hard. He [Rose] wasn't vaccinated. I would have preferred if he was [but] he wasn't ready. He said he was going to do it, but he wasn't ready. This COVID thing is very, very hard, very hard!” she bewailed.
Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, more than 60 Trelawny residents have died from COVID-19-related illnesses, at least 15 of them have been recorded since the start of this month.
Meadows, who was also a close friend of Cassell's father, who passed away some seven years ago, shared that he is somewhat a mentor to the young accountant who was also the operator of an eatery in Falmouth. He, however, rued that he failed in his efforts to convince him to get immunised against the respiratory disease.
But, he took solace that he managed to persuade Cassells' partner to be vaccinated.
“Thank God, I was able to convince his dear common-law wife [Casey Hayles] to take the vaccine. She proved a tower of strength for him and was able to take care of him prior to him going to hospital without much fear because she was vaccinated,” the former senator confided.
Warren stressed that the death of his friends has left him deeply hurt.
“Me go down the hospital and watch them, right now me going through hell. Me feel every pain weh the man them feel. Me head hurt me, me have joint pain, every pain them feel me feel. Mentally it breaks you down,” he argued.
Meanwhile, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), St Andrade Sinclair, revealed that there was a massive jump in the take up of vaccination at the sites across western Jamaica during the no-movement days.
“...Big uptake and today [yesterday], even though everybody has gone back to work you still have a lot of people. The take up has increased drastically and it's phenomenal in the sense that you are seeing everybody coming out, everybody coming out to get the vaccine. The lockdown over the weekend was really welcoming. We did fantastic,” Sinclair argued.
Dr Delroy Fray, clinical coordinator at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, welcomed the decline in vaccination hesitancy, citing that the population is beginning to get the message of the threat to health and possibly death posed to individuals unvaccinated against the disease.
“They are realising now that what we were telling them in the beginning was the truth and all the people who were telling them nonsense, they realise it was nonsense now. People now are realising that that is the way to go so they are moving towards that. In fact, they wanted evidence, now they are getting evidence. Most of the patients who are admitted to hospital, they never took it and that is not unique for Cornwall [Regional Hospital], all over the country and abroad,” Dr Fray stressed.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that the island recorded 367 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the infection total to 63,831 and virus death toll to 1,431.