Renitta Peters-Morris, Ed.D Candidate
The emergence of the COVID-19 virus has undoubtedly created a catastrophic atmosphere within the Caribbean region and the wider world. At the borders of what would have been an epic 2020, entered a virus that has stagnated the world unseen for decades.
The world was left literally in shambles with every sector vastly affected and the creation of uncertainty at an all-time high. Many pondered on thoughts of “finding a cure” or a containment of the virus that would allow for the resumption of normalcy.
At the forefront of the discussions was the creation of a vaccine that will enable persons to be protected, thus cushioning the fears. The world eagerly awaited announcements of vaccine readiness that would reinstate a sense of calmness. The declaration that several vaccines were created was met with mixed emotions and discussions about the readiness of vaccine administration among them, vaccine testing.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines vaccination roll out started on an unstable path and continues to be poorly sustained compared to other countries in the region. The current negative climate towards vaccination can be attributed to various misconceptions and miscommunications. In the early stage of vaccine introduction, the benefits of vaccines and possible side effects should have been clearly outlined in all facets. Among the mass public information campaign that was necessary, was the clear distinction between the effects of vaccines and the relationship between the contraction of the COVID-19 virus and the impact of the virus on fully vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.
The early spread of negativity in no doubt allowed for the planting of mental seeds that have severely impacted the rate of the vaccine programme in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In what can be deemed as a state of unrest between natural anti-vaxers, those who are simply misinformed and misguided and pro-vaxers, it is not too late to embark on a mass public relations campaign aimed solely at debunking the myths and misconceptions of the available vaccines to Vincentians.
Nonetheless, the discussions on the personal choice to take or not to take vaccine continues and, therefore, it is important that these are done in an unbiased way. There will never be a time when everyone will be in agreement on an issue and as such, it is imperative that on the mission to defend a position, one is not the carrier of untruths that are aimed at derailing what was seen as the saviour of the pandemic.
In what can be seen as organised chaos in some camps towards the vaccine program, the quest for relevance must be amplified with the sole purpose of ensuring that Vincentians are properly equipped to make sound decisions on public health matters.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].