The COVID-19 pandemic has led to much turmoil and conflict around the world. In The Bahamas, we have not been spared this turmoil and conflict. The most recent manifestations of this turmoil have been revealed in the form of what I call the vaccination games.
The vaccination games are like a competition between two opposing teams. On the one side are the vaccine proponents – and on the other side are the vaccine opponents. This is an unfortunate circumstance, but it is what it is, and this is where we are.
This “game” has unfortunately become acrimonious and contentious, and it seems that there are constant attacks and counter attacks. I believe this is really unnecessary and there is a way forward without the acrimony and insults. The COVID pandemic is very real, and the consequences are gargantuan. The most recent wave is the deadliest so far – and we all hope and pray that this is the worst of it, and that it will get better. As the pandemic has worsened, so has the division between vaccinated and unvaccinated.
It would be great if there was one concerted opinion, and everyone followed the same path, but we live in a free world and a free Bahamas, so there will be differences of opinion. I believe it is important that we allow freedom of expression and opinion and realize that we cannot force people to comply either way. The best thing to do is research and draw a conclusion on what is best for you, and respect others.
It is interesting to note that there is no consensus even among medical professionals and scientists. A majority of scientists and medical professionals seem to agree that the vaccination is the most effective option against COVID, but many (I do not know the percentage) disagree. I have listened to both, because it is important to consider opinions and hear facts and even anecdotal experiences before making conclusive judgements. I am not on either side of the game. I am interested in what works and what gives me and my family the best chance of health and long life.
It is important not to be dismissive of people’s experiences.
I have listened to people who have had COVID and used a variety of unconventional non-medically prescribed treatments and they have said it worked for them. I have spoken to others who have used the same treatments and it did not work for them. I have seen the statistics that indicate that people who are vaccinated are much less likely to get sick or die. I have also noticed that the recommendations are fluid and rapidly changing. It is evident we are still living in an uncertain environment and there are no guarantees. Pointing fingers and exchanging insults between the two opposing sides does not produce the desired result. I believe we should be continually dialoguing and exchanging information and allowing each to act according to their conscience.
There are risks with or without vaccinations. The most current data seems to indicate that the vaccinated are less vulnerable – but there are risks involved – so the decision to be vaccinated is not automatically safe and without possible peril. On the other hand, statistically, according to existing published data, there is a higher risk for the unvaccinated.
Who is right or wrong? And what actions individuals take is really up to the individuals involved.
I believe it is wrong to publicly ridicule people for the decisions that they have made. Their decisions may come with consequences but it is their decision, so it must be respected.
I have seen instances on social media where people have died, and rather than expressions of sympathy, the first thing that is associated with their death is whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
Can we get past the vaccination games? It seems unlikely.
Should we get past them? It would be most beneficial if we did. We are all waiting to see what is best and what will lead us out of this current pandemic and challenge to the human race. I for one am constantly listening, researching and dialoguing for both my personal benefit and for the benefit of the country, using my position as a national leader. One decision I have taken is not to be a part of the vaccination games but to be a voice of reason to help both sides remain civil and logical.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.