Barbadians are being cautioned that the longer the COVID-19 pandemic drags on with too many people on the island refusing to be vaccinated, citizens are likely to see more erosion of the social and economic gains they have enjoyed.
Professor Don Marshall, a social scientist and head of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, joined the raging debate on COVID-19 vaccinations, as those against inoculation question the need for such action.
But Professor Marshall contends “taking the vaccines to make sense and vaccine access marks a key humanitarian principle of our time”. He called vaccinations a “progressive activist”.
In a posting on his Facebook page, the SALISES head disclosed that he has been a member of the UWI COVID-19 Task Force since its establishment in April 2020. He, along with four non-medical scientists on the Task Force, examines the issues from a socio-economic, youth, gender, and mental health perspective, which are then brought to bear on the medical and public health concerns.
The UWI academic argued: “Pandemics lead to restrictions, increasing state surveillance and reach, an exacerbation of pre-existing inequalities, the abuse of women, workers, and the reach of the worst abuses of market society on consumers and citizens.
“Take the vaccine if we are to end this headlong plunge into a pre-unionised capitalism and restrictions on our freedom of assembly and way of life.”
Of his efforts on the UWI COVID-19 Task Force, Marshall told his Facebook followers that from his understanding, variants or mutations can, and have emerged from a single person who contracted COVID-19 and falls seriously ill for a protracted period.
He added: “The vaccines serve to avoid such serious illness among those who contract COVID-19. The message then is to take the vaccine and starve the possibility of further strains or mutations.
“Staying unvaccinated means everyone is put at risk if the evolutionary mutations from Covid 19 – the Beta strain, the C.1.2. strain, and the Delta strain – give way to a super-strain that pushes past the immune defence properties of the current generation of vaccines.”
According to the UWI academic: “I share this with all who are understandably vaccine-hesitant because they are awaiting the Cuban vaccine, or are suspicious about the long-term effects of the current ones; have a phobia against needles and vaccines; or are awaiting a cure that guarantees against contagion like how the MMR booster works.
“My gentle rejoinder is that this pandemic will be prolonged if we create conditions for further mutations. Let Delta be the last of such, especially as COVID-sick human beings are perfect hosts for mutations breakthrough. (IMC1)
This article appears in the September 10 edition of COVID Dispatch. Read the full publication here.