In case you missed it, Pope Francis said he would take the COVID-19 vaccine (see Monday paper). That sent a strong message to Roman Catholics and even members of other churches who might consider declining to do so for religious motives.
He called it the ethical choice, as “you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others.” That is scientifically correct, because even if everyone else were vaccinated they could conceivably still – under certain circumstances – pass on the disease.
In addition, some facemasks mainly protect against infecting others, so people depend on each other to wear these. Many may no longer use them once vaccinated, which increases the risk for those who are not.
As for St. Maarten, few specifics have been provided so far regarding local vaccination implementation plans, except the priority target groups being seniors and medical workers. The public also learned that it will not happen in the Caribbean part of the kingdom before February 15.
Aruba hoped to receive the necessary freezers from the Netherlands on January 13 and a Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM delegation on January 25 and 26 to check on the preparations. They will also be visiting the so-called BES islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) with the same purpose later this month.
During the recent virtual Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultations IPKO, St. Maarten pointed out the importance of simultaneously vaccinating the entire two-nation island, for obvious reasons. Preliminary enquiries via the European Parliament showed the French side would probably start earlier.
An interesting aspect is the registration system while respecting one’s privacy. Proof of vaccination recognised worldwide will probably become the norm and apps for such are already in full development.
Not all the basic Journalism 101 questions “who, what, where and when” on this topic can yet be answered in detail and that is understandable, considering the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and related crisis. However, a bit more information could go a long way in preventing misconceptions and dispelling unfounded rumours that abound on social media.
The announcement before Christmas that the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) had started a campaign to allay fears about the vaccine based on an internal survey was therefore most welcome. Knowledge is power.