The Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC) is exploring its options on how to convince the island’s youth to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, COVID-19.
President Roshanna Trim told Barbados TODAY that amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases and related deaths, the BYDC is currently engaged in discussions regarding amplifying its efforts to get more young people to not only take the jab, but also engage in safe practices that would protect themselves and their families from contracting COVID.
The council’s efforts come as Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Corey Forde warned that an increasing number of young people are contracting COVID-19 and some are getting very ill.
Trim, who indicated that all council members are vaccinated, said as with other sections of the population, many young people are also being bombarded with misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
She said: “We have been sharing information as it relates to being vaccinated and wearing masks and staying responsible. So, as a council we want to share the message of how you should be vaccinated and why you should be vaccinated.
“I think that like the rest of the population, young people have a choice whether to be vaccinated or not and like the rest of the population they also are confronted with a lot of misinformation and are still sorting through. A lot of it stems from a distrust and that is something that we are still working to understand – ‘how do you combat a mistrust of information from a different source while there are so many other sources?’.”
Last week, during an interview from the main isolation centre at Harrison Point, Dr Forde made a direct appeal to younger Barbadians, urging them to get vaccinated against the disease especially since more of them were being treated in intensive care for the viral infection.
He said younger citizens who think that nothing can happen to them if they contract COVID, should note that 11 out of the 23 patients in primary isolation where the more critically ill are housed, are under age 50. The doctor urged young people not to play Russian Roulette with their lives.
Trim said the council was also concerned about Dr Forde’s observation and stressed that the youth must be cognizant that they also have a role to play in helping the country to fight the COVID-19 battle, particularly as it relates to curbing the spread.
The president said: “There is a personal responsibility on us to follow the protocols, get vaccinated and ensure that we do our best to slow down the spread of COVID. We understand that it isn’t necessarily going anywhere, but there has to be a way that we can mitigate the loss of life.
“Almost every day we are seeing someone dying. It is concerning because that someone is someone’s family member; mother, father, brother, whatever the case may be. And so like Dr Forde, I think we need to be very careful how we continue to interact and engage and meet up with persons.”
Trim also advised the younger population that Government and policymakers can only do so much as it relates to introducing restrictions and protocols in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID. She said it is impossible for authorities to monitor and control every action of a person.
“The responsibility is really on the young to be aware that wearing their masks and sanitizing their hands and all of those different things they are doing are to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“Get vaccinated and continue to follow the protocols even if you are vaccinated. While the vaccine reduces the possibility of serious severe symptoms or death, persons with the vaccine can still catch COVID and can still pass it on,” Trim said. ([email protected])