Almost 200,000 Guyanese have received their first COVID-19 vaccination, but Mondale Smith was not among them, although he could have been.
Sadly, we have lost a young, active, well respected, professional journalist from our ranks. It need not have been so. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of young and old ones too – Guyanese who can be vaccinated but are not because they have chosen not to so be. Mondale had been among them. The question is: why?
There is overwhelming evidence, the world over and here at home, that the vaccines work. There is no known case of anyone who has taken the second dose of the vaccine – where two doses are required to be fully vaccinated – who has been hospitalised or died from being infected by the COVID-19 virus. There are, however, many thousands who have not been vaccinated, and they continue to be infected and are dying.
I write this letter in the hope that those who read it – who have not been vaccinated, either by carelessness or by choice – learn from what has happened to Mondale, and understand that they have made the choice to not only put their own lives at risk, but the lives of the rest of the nation; and why do I say the rest of the nation?
Let me quote from a letter in today’s Stabroek News (1st June, 2021) written by Dr. Jacquelyn Jhingree: “Vaccination is the long-term tool to get out of the pandemic and eventually beat COVID-19. Most of us know this by now. Scientists, health professionals, governments and science communicators all over the world have undertaken significant campaigns to convince people that it is in their best interest to get vaccinated”.
We cannot use that “long-term tool” to serve Guyana and vaccinate at least 75% of our population to achieve “herd immunity” for our country if a substantial percentage of our population refuse to be vaccinated.
We have the vaccines. Some 41% of our population have already received their first dose; they need to get their second. Those persons refusing to be vaccinated are holding the nation to ransom. I repeat: they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but the rest of the nation with them.