HERE’S the good news – the vaccinations are under way.
Leading the way, healthcare workers and hospital executives received their first shots of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine yesterday, with other senior officials such as Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Health Minister Renward Wells having already had their jabs on Sunday,
It is early days, of course. More than 60 PHA staff got their shots yesterday, and it is expected that pace will increase significantly as the vaccination rollout proceeds.
The important thing is that the people we know and trust with our health are showing the way.
These are the people we live with, the people we go to with our medical problems, the people we acknowledge as experts in the medical field – and they trust the vaccine and are putting it in their own arms.
There are two challenges ahead for the vaccine rollout – the logistics of making sure the jabs reach people’s arms wherever they live and at a good pace, and ensuring people trust the vaccine.
That second one can be the trickier one. There are all kinds of scare stories being shared that give people pause – but seeing medics trust the medicine will go a long way to helping build that trust.
As well as trust, we should also remember we have a responsibility. This is a voluntary vaccination – but let’s be straight about that, as people umm and ahh over whether or not they should take the vaccination they remain both at risk and a risk for spreading the virus.
As our columnist Front Porch points out today, it’s not just about you, but about everyone you come into contact with.
So if you don’t take the vaccine, that means you’re fine with remaining a higher risk to your grandmother or your elderly uncle. It means you’re an increased risk for passing the virus on to your friends. You become more of a threat to your children by choosing not to take the virus.
As Archbishop Patrick Pinder points out: “This is to protect the health of the recipient, the health of all those with whom the recipient comes into contact and especially to protect the most vulnerable for whom infection with this virus could mean serious illness, hospitalisation or worse.”
That’s the harsh truth – but let’s also consider the flip side for a moment. Every person who does get the vaccine makes it that little bit harder for the virus to take hold, to find a way to reach others. You can save people’s lives just by getting the jab and stopping the virus from spreading because of you.
Imagine, just imagine, if we could be the first nation in the world to be fully vaccinated. Imagine the headlines around the world. Imagine what that would do for our society, our tourism industry, and our economy.
That could be attainable – we don’t actually need a huge number of vaccines in comparison to other, more populous countries. Can we achieve it? Perhaps, perhaps not. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to put the world of lockdowns and curfews behind us? We could lead the way – and there’s one simple way to do that: Trust the medics. They’ve got the jab. Follow their lead.
Probably the last thing the government needs as we glimpse light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is the return of problems with labour relations.
Yesterday saw two protests – one from officers at the Department of Correctional Services, and one from staff at ZNS.
Each group has different issues, but each talks of not being heard. Prison officers say they are tired of complaints falling on deaf ears, while ZNS staff report a unilateral decision to impose salary deductions for health insurance.
Throw in a backdrop of a countdown to the next election and that’s bad news all around for a government looking to win a second term.
Of course there are always two sides to disputes – but the very least there should be is communication with staff.
You can’t promise to listen to people on the election then not listen when you’re in office. If you do, you can’t be surprised at the outcome.