EDITOR, The Tribune.
Looking at the latest Bahamian vaccination statistics, we are falling far short of herd immunity, which is also defined by the WHO as “the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.”
If we are going to get our economy open, move from Amber to Green status, we are going to have to persuade COVID vaccine sceptics to join the club. Denigrating them, using guilt to make them vaccinate, calling them unpatriotic and coercing them won’t do it. Many do want to be their brother’s keeper, but have nagging doubts about taking the vaccines. I propose three ways to reduce vaccine hesitancy as follows:
1) There is legitimate concern about the safety of these novel vaccines. VAERS data released today by the CDC showed a total of 463,457 reports of adverse events from all age groups following COVID vaccines, including 10,991 deaths and 48,385 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020 and July 9, 2021. Although the vaccines appear to be effective, there is still a fear that they can harm a small section of the population.
No preparation appears to have been made by our Government to assist those suffering adverse effects medically or financially as far as I know. The vaccine manufacturers have been given blanket immunity and the cost of side effects is currently borne by the user. Perhaps the Government can address this issue and assuage our fears that they will support us in the event that we are not well. It seems unfair that they are touting a product and not standing behind it. Those employers who are violating the principle of informed consent and making their employees vaccinate should also be prepared to cover the medical costs of their employees that are injured.
2) Why are we administering the vaccine to people that apparently get no benefit particularly those Bahamians who have contracted COVID and therefore have a high antibody response?
A simple test prior to vaccination would determine who has antibodies to Sars-2. Those with high antibodies could be issued with an antibody passport instead of vaccination, and form part of the herd. We know that that herd immunity can be achieved either by naturally-acquired infection or by vaccination. I am not sure why our Government is using a one pronged approach, asking everybody to be vaccinated and only allowing vaccinated persons exemptions and freedoms.
3) And finally, why are we also not using cheap repurposed retroviral drugs that have proven their efficacy in combatting COVID. Theresa Lawrie’s meta study on Ivermectin’s published on 17 June concludes “Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”
Why is this treatment still being suppressed by the WHO and Public Health Authorities when its efficacy is beyond any doubt. Dr. Pierre Cory, a physician, and one of the key advocators for Ivermectin makes a compelling case for its use. David Seftel’s trial with Fluvoxamine showed its efficacy too.
May I suggest our Public Health Officials read the peer reviewed science and roll out Ivermectin and or Fluvoxamine to the vaccine hesitant so that we can get more people into the herd?
If our Government and our public health officials are really concerned for our health, they must start to think outside the box, to guarantee help to those that are injured or likely to be injured, and endeavour to use all the tools, not just the experimental ones, at their disposal to bring us into the herd and make this virus extinct.
July 16, 2021.