Oct 28, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The COVID-19 pandemic, very much present in Guyana, has brought many troubles with it, and most of which modern science and experts struggle to understand. The best defense that this country, the whole world for that matter, has currently is vaccination. It goes along with the now established COVID-19 protocols, sometimes largely ignored, and helps to give the vaccinated and those with whom they come into contact some limited protection. Or to say it differently and more accurately, better protection than not being vaccinated at all.
So, where do we stand in Guyana right now, with regards to the virus in general, and vaccinations specifically? The caption of a recent news article in KN was “Guyana has enough vaccines to achieve herd immunity ‘Health Minister” (KN October 24). That is the good news, with other pieces of the same giving a little encouragement as to where we stand. As examples, seven of Guyana’s 10 Regions have reached a solid milestone: it is where close to or above 75 percent of the adult residents in those places have had at least one shot of one of the vaccines available locally. It is most welcoming news, and we commend our fellow Guyanese for being responsible citizens. They have given themselves, their families, their neighbours, their colleagues, and many others a better chance of overcoming severe infection from the virus.
We make it clear that, though vaccination is the best shield presently in hand, it is not bulletproof against assaults of the virus. There are Guyanese who have hard stories to tell of taking the vaccines, but still getting very sick from the effects of the virus. In the next instance, they are quick to point out that if they didn’t do the sensible thing and got vaccinated before, they would now be dead and gone. Retired Colonel, Egbert Field, and Guyana’s Civil Aviation Head, spoke publicly of his own recent viral ordeal. The central fact of Ret’d Colonel Field’s story is that if he had not taken the vaccine, he could have, would have, been history.
These are the good news stories; the ones that make us feel good. But then there are those other stories that leave us hanging. Yes, we have enough vaccines for herd immunity, as attested to by the Hon. Minister of Health, which is good. But we still have the bad news of too many of our fellow citizens not vaccinated at all, and choosing to exercise their right to remain in that state. The numbers of the unvaccinated are discouraging, in some respects, most alarming.
In Region 10, a mere 1 of 3 residents are vaccinated (KN Oct. 23). This means that there is a greater likelihood for those who took the vaccination precaution, and put themselves in a stronger and safer position with the virus, encountering an unvaccinated individual, who is an everyday area neighbour. In some instances, this could neutralise and actually expose those who did the right thing by getting vaccinated. This is neither responsible nor neighbourly.
In Region 4, 82 percent of the population took at least the first dose, which is a solid start. However, because Region 4 is Guyana’s most populous administrative segment, a congested one also, the remaining 18 percent unvaccinated is a worrying figure. It means that too many Demerara (east and west and central) and capital city residents are without even a first vaccine shot. It easily translates to this cold fact: tens of thousands of Region 4 residents are totally unvaccinated. To restate the obvious, there is considerable danger to others, as posed by these reckless and selfish individuals. We have made a living by being frank to the point of bluntness, and it is now past the stage for us to change gears and be otherwise.
We have done the safe thing, the sensible and right thing, and so should all Guyanese, other than those with health issues that give them an exception. For only 46.1 percent of Guyana’s adult population to be fully vaccinated is a vulgarity. For, no matter how it is looked at, the reality is that one of every two adult citizens is either fully or partially unvaccinated. Herd immunity will never be attained at such a level. This is alarming.
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