Last week we re-iterated that effectively combating the COVID-19 pandemic requires a mix of strategies – hygiene, social distancing and mask-wearing protocols; vaccination; therapeutics; occasional lockdowns as necessary; and better attention to immune health which would contribute to the building of natural immunity against COVID-19 infection.
I would again say that I am not against the use of vaccine as part of the strategy mix to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, rather, what I am against is the mandating of the vaccines. The reality is that the world was never going to get to a point where the whole world would be vaccinated within a short window and so there was always going to arise mutations, some of which would have the potential for evading the existing vaccines and this would necessitate the use of booster vaccines targeted at the dominant variants. Not unlike what goes on with the seasonal flu, the world may need to embrace vaccine booster shots as a standard tool to fight COVID-19, thus we may have to learn to live with COVID-19. Let us also be honest and recognize that there was always going to be vaccine hesitancy in the context of genuine scientific disagreement or due to mistrust of the WHO, the CDC organisations, governments, large pharmaceutical companies or the global elite, whether or not that distrust is realistic or based on conspiracy theories. This means that the single-track vaccine focus was always flawed!
I do not oppose the use of the vaccines, but rather than mandate the vaccines, there should be genuine efforts to educate persons and this must involve providing all pertinent information without leaving out convenient elements of the vaccine debate. Persons need to be allowed to take well-informed risks rather than being misled or bullied into taking the vaccine. As for that matter I met one person who said that he had taken the vaccine but if he had not yet taken it and he was making the decision presently, he would decide against taking it now as it has turned out that much of the information on the matter that he had received from official sources was guess work rather than scientific facts! Moreover, if indeed the authorities are convinced about their position on the effectiveness of the vaccines, then they should be patient and allow time to work on their behalf – as if they are right, the fears of some initially hesitant people would be calmed and they would take the vaccine eventually.
But given the risks posed by the virus, alongside the vaccines, there needs to be effective treatments to avoid severe illness and death from COVID-19 for persons who could not be vaccinated during initial and subsequent vaccination rounds; or in relation to persons who are vaccine hesitant or who, for good scientific reasons, are not in agreement that the vaccines are safe and effective or will be safe and effective in the medium to long term or who are doubtful of the medium to long term effectiveness of the vaccines.
The same way money was thrown after the vaccines, money should also have been thrown after finding effective COVID-19 treatments and it’s not too late for that. Take for instance the use of Ivermectin – many doctors who have used it out of desperation claim great results. It is claimed by many that there has been adequate formal evidence for the World Health Origination (WHO) to have given emergency authorization for the use of Ivermectin if they had chosen to be as lenient as they were with the vaccines. That notwithstanding, the WHO, has recently only authorised the use of Ivermectin in clinical trials. But there had been much clamour to get the WHO to move on this matter given that many experts think that there has been overwhelming evidence that Ivermectin is effective. Some persons think that the WHO may have had a spurious agenda and that they are being subject to the influence of large pharmaceutical firms.
And how about herbal remedies? There has been great interest in exploring alternative choices of medicinal plant-based therapeutics for COVID-19. Some medical plants have long been known or believed to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects, and this ought to be further investigated in the context of treating COVID-19. The definitive roles of these medicinal plants in cytokine storms and post-infection complications need to be fully investigated. There may already have been some limited work done in various countries, but given the unprecedented challenges being faced with respect to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, ethnopharmacological research should be given a fair amount of consideration for its potential to contribute to controlling this pandemic. Some of the plants grown in Dominica or widely available include – Ginger, Garlic, Lemon, Lime, Guava, Vervain, and Moringa. Many persons have increased their consumption of these herbs to help their bodies fight off severe disease should they be infected with the virus. Next week let us continue to discuss the vaccine-complementary strategies for confronting the COVIID-19 pandemic.
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