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COVID19 – Delta variant ravages St Lucia: Sustainable COVID-19 vaccine policy, past due

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – On August 8, 2021, Caribbean News Global (CNG) titled COVID19 – Delta variant ravages St Lucia, noted that “ a spike in the COVID-19 cases which was anticipated given the increase in social activities over the past couple of weeks,” short of saying that the general election ‘carnival style’ campaign and the general ad-hoc protocol/policy is the attributing factor, coupled with the Delta variant that is unofficially on the island,” was met with an attempted rebuff by those short on relevance to what’s happening around them.

On August 25, a statement from the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs (MHWEA), said it “recently engaged stakeholders in a consultation on COVID-19 vaccine policy aimed at addressing vaccine hesitancy, and improving vaccine coverage in Saint Lucia.

“The consultation gave us a chance to listen to the voices of the various stakeholders,” said, chief medical officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George. “Some members were completely against the use of the vaccines, and they were able to discuss what their concerns were. They also indicated how they would prefer vaccines to be made available to the public. We took note of the viewpoints of many of those stakeholders and we invited them to provide recommendations which will be used to guide implementation, and so the Cabinet can get a feel of the opinions, ideas and views of the various stakeholders.”

“This is the first of others to come,” she said. “And especially now that we have the new Pfizer vaccine available, we are hoping to have another consultation but this time with pediatricians and the ministry of education as well because we would like the input of parents and teachers. We want to ensure that every voice is heard.”

Simply put the CMO comments bring to mind – The paradox of ‘have taken the position’ Vs a ‘policy position’ declares St Lucian MOH officials: Part 1 and 2.

The paradox of ‘have taken the position’ Vs a ‘policy position’ declares St Lucian MOH officials: Part 2

Vaccination and education are key pillars

Prime minister Philip J. Pierre said recently, that the government is taking a holistic approach to combat COVID-19, however, the cooperation of the general public is crucial – called on all Saint Lucians to take responsibility for their actions, “vaccination and education are key pillars in the fight,” added “It’s very simple. The science has shown that vaccination plus public health protocols are the only approaches, for now, that will stem the surge of COVID-19 cases so our first approach will be to get people vaccinated. We cannot force people to be vaccinated, but we can inform them that vaccination may save their lives. As such, there will be constant education and constant discussion so that people can understand that they should vaccinate for their own good and the good of their families.”

A daily dose of numbers

Amidst daily notices from the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs (MHWEA) of rising COVID-19 cases and relatively low vaccination rates, (less than ¼ of 180,000 people are vaccinated) albeit increase supplies from the US.

On Monday, August 23, 2021, the ministry of health commenced the administering of the Pfizer vaccine.

As of August 25, 2021, the total number of cases diagnosed in the country is 7,536, the ministry of health reports, while the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the country is 71 and the total number of COVID-19 related deaths is 30. To date, there are 1,600  active cases.

Bousquet’s Bulletin: Political correctness?

“Never mind all the leadership provided to the Command Center by the loquacious former tourism minister (instead of the minister for health and wellness) and despite the best efforts of the information teams at GIS and NTN, the last government’s COVID- messaging never effectively got across as intended,” Bousquet’s Bulletin: Political correctness? outlined: 

“Prime minister Pierre, has repeatedly stated his government’s COVID policy will be driven by the numbers and the science, has also commendably sworn he will not abandon the COVID fight to the naysayers and the mind-benders applying the science of untruths through sophisticated horror stories targeted at the society’s most vulnerable.

Now he needs to ensure his Cabinet ministers also follow the numbers and the science. COVID-19 and the Delta variant are not matters to be left to calls of conscience government and health officials and it would help if all at least make their vaccination status known.

The new Saint Lucia government must also carefully avoid falling into the trap of discussing diversionary side-show issues like ‘rights’ and ‘mandates’ without also including the government’s corresponding sacred ‘duties’ and ‘responsibilities’ to protect the entire nation’s health, as elected to.

No legal argument can justify anyone having (far less claiming) a ‘right’ to endanger the lives of others – even themselves, far less their families, relatives, friends and members of the public.

The new administration must also avoid going out of the way to sound politically correct, which is wholly incorrect when it comes to COVID-19, as the issue is not about just sounding right, but saying and doing what’s right.

“Political correctness, in the COVID-19 context in 2021’s age of the Delta variant, is as much (and no less) a suicide prescription as advice against vaccination – and should be avoided by decision-makers at all costs, if only to save lives.”

Get Vaccinated: Save Lives



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