Kaieteur News – Forty thousand persons, the majority not wearing masks, jammed the Wembley Stadium on Sunday night to watch the Euro 2020 finals. They could do this because coronavirus deaths are extremely low in the UK even though infections are high.
The pandemic is coming to an end. Once the situation stabilises in India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, Colombia and Argentina, it will mark the end of the pandemic. However, do not think for one moment that the local epidemic is near to its climax.
Five elderly persons were reported as dead yesterday. These persons succumbed to coronavirus-related causes.
The average age of the group was 77 years. The youngest was 65 and the oldest was 92.
Over the weekend, the death of a centenarian was reported. That person was 102 years old.
The majority of those dying recently were elderly persons. But the majority of those being infected are young persons.
However, do you believe that the 102-year-old person and the 92-year-old person were out cavorting on the streets not wearing a mask Do you believe that?
No, a more plausible hypothesis is that the majority of the elderly who are dying because of being infected in their own homes and by members of their own households. It is most likely that those dying were infected by a younger person, either someone from their own home or someone who came to visit them.
But we have reached the stage where those who are dying have only themselves to blame. They should have been vaccinated. If they were fully vaccinated, they would have stood a decent chance of surviving. Numbers from the United States have indicated that since the vaccination started in that country, 99.5 percent of those who died were not vaccinated.
Even with the first shot of a two-shot vaccine, you do have some protection, according to the experts. In Guyana, a regional official died from complications of the coronavirus, even though he was vaccinated. But guess what, it takes between 2-3 weeks for immunisation to develop and this official died within the two weeks period. But no one has asked why he was not vaccinated earlier. He could have since the vaccine was open to all ages since the 16th April 2021.
There is no excuse for not being vaccinated. Some of the elderly however may not be vaccinated because they do not have persons who are willing to take them to be vaccinated. Some of their relatives may be of the misguided belief that since these elderly may be cooped up at home there is little chance of them being infected.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Some of the very persons who may be reluctant or lazy to take their elderly relatives to the vaccination centres could be the very persons who will bring the virus into the home and leave their elderly relatives stricken.
Deaths should be rare in Guyana. Guyana was vaccinating persons when the rest of the Caribbean was scrambling to get vaccines. But people – including highly educated persons – are listening to conspiracy theories and are refusing or delaying their vaccination.
Only about half of the country’s adult population has so far been vaccinated. And in recent weeks, the daily-vaccinated rate turned into a drizzle. Over the past 12 days, only 6,319 first shots were administered. This averages around 525 per day. The government had been hoping for 10,000 per day.
This is why this column has been saying that it is time for a stronger focus on vaccinating the elderly; those 55 years and older. This is the only way to stop the death toll from reaching that dreaded figure of 600 by the end of August.
When the vaccination campaign had opened up to all ages, the President had deployed more than 400 members of the Disciplined Services to assist with the drive.
A new Drive is needed. This time teams need to be going house to house to register the elderly and ask whether they have been vaccinated. From this information, interventions can be made.
If the government can have a drive-through vaccination exercise, there is no reason why they cannot have a special one, which goes into the villages to vaccinate the elderly, especially now that the Chinese vaccines, which do not require extra-cold storage are here.
The Government and Opposition have seen eye to eye on the Venezuelan threat. The Foreign Minister even met his counterpart from the Opposition to brief her during that period.
So why cannot the Government and the Opposition see eye to eye on this matter of life and death for the elderly. Why all the theatrics in the National Assembly?
Instead of the theatrics, let us look after the geriatrics. Get the “old people” vaccinated and save lives!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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