There is no heroism in snubbing COVID-19 vaccines

Received vaccines from China in 2021 (File picture)

By Johannes Marisa

THE world is shedding tears from the uncountable losses of the unseen creature that continues to threaten humanity.

The World Health Organisation has warned that COVID-19 will be with us for some time considering the fulminant trend of the virus. We have recorded close to one million cases in a single day while mortality is now reaching 14 000 in a single day.

Morbidity and mortality are on an upward trajectory in many countries in the world, with India being hit left, right and centre. This, therefore, calls on all of us to guard against complacency, thoughtlessness, ignorance and conspiracies.

Public health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organised efforts of society, individuals or communities.

Public health measures should always be borne in mind when dealing with pandemics and it is not surprising that countries that are carefree are some of the worst affected by COVID-19 in this world.

Human rights defenders have threatened litigation against important restrictions like lockdowns, social distancing, wearing of masks and even vaccination, citing violation of human rights.

There were massive demonstrations in 2020 against these restrictions in countries like Italy, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America.

To add salt to an injury, the demonstrators never bothered to put on masks despite being gathered in thousands, thus further aggravating an already precarious situation.

On December 14, 2020, Sandra Lindsay, a nurse and director of health services at Jewish Medical Centre, received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States of America. Since then, millions of doses have been administered in many countries.

Zimbabwe started vaccinating its frontliners last month using the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine with Sinovac being brought in during the second phase of the inoculation. Many people were sceptical of the Chinese vaccines because of senseless conspiracy theories and myths that threatened to torpedo the whole vaccination process.

Prominent church leaders joined the conspirators, propagating misinformation detrimental to humanity. The result was a sluggish uptake of the vaccines in Zimbabwe, with many people initially snubbing the jabs. Numerous reasons were given for snubbing them. Some of the reasons were that:

˜ China intended to decimate Africans with unknown toxins in the so-called vaccines. I am surprised that we are still alive up to now with very minimal side effects. It should be known that Sinopharm and Sinovac are not only being used in Africa but in countries like United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Brazil too.

˜ Chinese vaccines have efficacy rates of as low as 50,7%. It seems the attack on the Chinese vaccines is still relentless or has gathered momentum. Many of our people have started to panic, which I think is not necessary. Everyone knows that fading liberalism is contributing to global scuffles that pit the West against the East. Let us not get distracted by social media talk.

Many people have inundated us with calls inquiring about the efficacy of Johnson and Johnson vaccine. South Africa temporarily put Johnson and Johnson vaccine on hold following reports of blood clots in some of the recipients. One man’s meat can be other’s poison.

We have heard about the high effectiveness rate of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and we hope there was no research bias. We pray that our people get the maximum benefit from the vaccines so that we get rid of the troublesome COVID-19.

You reject the COVID-19 vaccines at your own peril, that is the  way I see it. The country should target at least 60% of the entire eligible population for vaccinated against the monstrous virus if herd immunity is to be achieved.

Vaccinating only a small fraction of the population may be a mere waste of resources and that is the reason why the rollout programmme should be embraced by many of us. Vaccination seems to be doing wonders in the world as the countries that intensified the vaccination processes are now recording very low deaths rates.

As of April 20, Israel had vaccinated 61,9% of its entire population, United Kingdom (48,5%), Chile (40,5%), USA (39,6%), Bahrain (36%) while Brazil and India have inoculated 11,7% and 8%, respectively.

Those who have been following the incidence and mortality trends agree with me that countries with the highest vaccination rates are now recording very few deaths and new cases. Brazil and India are in trouble as their vaccine coverages are quite insignificant.

It is my plea that many people accept the vaccines so that our national coverage is comprehensive if we are to get maximum protection. People should know that we are not yet out of the COVID-19 quagmire as we remain under incessant threat of the third wave. COVID-19 is still with us, therefore, get protection from the vaccines.