Apr 27, 2021 News
– urges public to analyse the facts before refusing vaccine
“Those who choose to not be vaccinated are putting themselves, their families and everyone else at risk because they are potential targets that can enable the virus to spread and mutate to forms that may be dangerous to everyone else.”
Kaieteur News – With more than 50 recorded COVID-19 related deaths, this month is poised to become even more worrisome with four more days remaining. The death toll yesterday, at the time of writing this article, was 289 from a total of over 12,700 positive cases.
While consistently high numbers of infections have been recorded in recent days, last Friday’s 214 new cases represented the highest in a single day.
“The world is going through the worse phase of the pandemic since it began,” said Emergency Medicine Specialist, Dr. Zulfikar Bux, as he observed that Guyana has not been exempted based on the prevailing statistics and the fact that “we’ve never had so many COVID-19 patients hospitalised at once.”
But according to Dr. Bux, having been exposed to the pandemic for more than a year, enough lessons should have been learnt to help prevent the worrying spate of hospitalisation. In fact, at present, he noted, there is sufficient evidence of preventative measures that work and “we are now armed with vaccines that can slow the spread and weaken the virus.”
But instead of choosing to become immune to the virus, Dr. Bux said that “we have become immune to the risks it (COVID-19) poses and the sad tales of the suffering that it has brought on those who have been affected.”
Moreover, Dr. Bux in his column this week sought to highlight the facts about vaccines versus COVID-19 as part of his advocacy for vaccine uptake by those influenced by anti-vaxxers or other reasons.
In four categories – Deaths with vaccines vs. deaths with COVID-19; Symptoms of COVID-19 vs. vaccination symptoms; Life with Vaccines vs. life without and Social media vs. Vaccines – Dr. Bux shared, though concisely, the information required to guide an informed decision.
Deaths with vaccines vs. deaths with COVID-19
According to Dr. Bux, there have been a few reported deaths in some countries with specific COVID-19 vaccines that have contributed to vaccine hesitancy, primarily because social media has blown the situation out of proportion. In Guyana, more than 115,000 persons have been vaccinated thus far and Dr. Bux noted, “we have not had a single reported death from the vaccines. On the other hand, we’ve had 277 deaths from COVID-19 from over 12,000 recorded infections.”
Pointing to the numbers, Dr. Bux said, “at this stage you have no risk of dying from being vaccinated while your risk of dying increases by two-fold if you are infected with COVID-19.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 vs. vaccination symptoms
But according to the doctor, the symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from mild to severe and a patient’s chances of being hospitalised, if infected, hovers between five and 10 percent depending on where that person is in the world. However, he noted that hospitalisation and death rates have continued to climb with the new variants that are in circulation thus a patient’s chances are higher now than they were last year. The majority of patients vaccinated, he explained, have little or no symptoms from the vaccine and “we have not had a recorded hospitalisation from vaccine related symptoms in Guyana.”
Based on the available evidence, Dr. Bux has concluded that, “you can get vaccinated, be protected from COVID-19 and most likely, avoid hospitalisation.”
On the other hand, he noted, if you’re not vaccinated and are infected with COVID-19, “your chances of having serious symptoms and becoming hospitalised increases by five to 10-fold or even more.”
Life with Vaccines vs. life without
But according to Dr. Bux, if about 80 percent of the population is vaccinated, it means that all will benefit. This, he said, will translate to persons being able to move around more freely as there would be a sufficient number of persons with a defence against the virus thus reducing its spread.
He however cautioned that, “those who choose to not be vaccinated are putting themselves, their families and everyone else at risk because they are potential targets that can enable the virus to spread and mutate to forms that may be dangerous to everyone else.”
Additionally, Dr. Bux has advised that a vaccinated person dying from COVID-19 is close to zero while an unvaccinated person has a two times higher risk of dying. The reality, he added, is that those who choose to not get vaccinated are the “wrench in the works that determines how long we are stuck with this virus and how much deadlier it becomes.”
Social media vs. Vaccines
Turning his attention to the impact of social media, Dr. Bux recalled that there was a time when the advice of doctors and medical experts carried weight. But because of the advent of social media which allows false narrative to be shared, he noted that some patients are now refusing tried and tested treatments. A similar situation, he said, is occurring with vaccines, which have been tried and tested for decades and have helped to eradicate or control many diseases.
Anti-vaxxers, he revealed, have been using social media to peddle untruths or magnify untoward effects of vaccines, which have confused many to the point where they avoid vaccines. “Most of us when we were little, took up to 10 vaccines that have protected us from so many diseases. It was a time when we were too little to understand social media. Now that we are educated, vaccines have become dangerous to the point where we ignore the real danger which is the disease itself,” Dr. Bux counselled.
He is nevertheless optimistic that persons would opt to analyse the facts provided before deciding on the way forward since “your choice on whether you should be vaccinated against COVID-19 should not be determined from some random social media post.”
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