The government’s policy of allowing tourists who are at least two weeks past their double or single dose COVID vaccine regimen to enter without COVID testing is being savaged on social media as the supposed vector for our third wave of the disease.
For this to be true, one would have to believe that most of the vaccinated but COVID-carrying visitors arriving here as early as May, when the program started, are still here in which case some of the symptomatic should have presented to the hospital, been flown out on emergency medical flights or recovered without need for medical intervention.
While we have a policy to allow the vaccinated in, the US and many other countries that receive direct flights from The Bahamas have entry requirements that include a negative COVID test result.
So, it is more likely that the vaccinated visitors who came here either did not have the disease when they arrived, or they all received false negative results in their COVID tests before their return flights.
It is not confirmed that the Delta variant of the disease is here, but it is not a stretch to imagine that it is.
The best solution to bring the virus under control is for all residents to get the vaccine. But just like in the US and elsewhere, the drumbeat of deadly misinformation has even nurses and healthcare workers protesting being made to get the jab as a pre-condition for their job looking after COVID-positive patients.
When it comes to promoting vaccines, we as a nation have never collectively sung from the same music sheet.
Even the news media which are sworn to be fair defenders of truth sometime end up spreading incomplete information. A recent editorial told of six fully vaccinated people in the US who contracted COVID at a wedding.
For starters, the wedding was in Texas, not Utah as the editorial claimed. Instead of reporting it as the uplifting story of how vaccines may have saved five lives, the opposite was conveyed.
It was an outdoor wedding and guests were asked to be fully vaccinated. Two of the wedding guests had recently arrived from India (where the Delta variant was first identified) and circulated amongst the 50 other guests. Six people in all were infected. Two of the guests had the Pfizer vaccine and two had the Moderna. Two had an Indian-made (not yet WHO approved) vaccine called Covaxin.
One of the Covaxin recipients, a man in his late 60s with no COVIDQ-19 comorbidities, died from complications. The other five who survived had preconditions including high blood pressure and diabetes or were classified as overweight.
The guest from India who died had received his second shot just 12 days before the wedding and the scientists suspect it may not have had enough time to take full effect.
The drumbeat from all quarters ought to be that COVID vaccines help prevent severe sickness and death.
As we watch disturbing pictures of our most unvaccinated fellow citizens seeking treatment at public hospitals, we must be mindful that we are all paying for those who refuse vaccination.
Ours is not a problem of vaccine hesitancy. We suffer from a tsunami of fearmongering, lies, exaggerations and spin driven and sustained on social media and parroted by some politicians, clergy and influencers.
— The Graduate