COMBATTING COVID-19: The Fear of COVID Vaccines

Dr. Anderson Reynolds

On Thursday 5 August, the prime minister of St. Vincent, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, was hit on the head by a rock thrown by someone from among a crowd of about 200 protestors who had gathered to protest government seeming intention of mandating Covid vaccinations for its employees. As I watched in disbelief the prime minister bleeding amidst a crowd of unsympathetic onlookers, I thought: you mean of all the things to be violent about—joblessness, poverty, corruption, violent crime, child and spousal abuse—Vincentians are killing their prime minister over fear of COVID vaccine?

The governments of the region are desperate for things to return to normal. With covid to blame, the economies of OECS territories contracted by an average of 17% in 2020, that of St. Vincent by 2.7%, and that of the more heavily tourist-dependent St. Lucia by 20.4%. Yet COVID continues to impede their ability to get on with the business of spearheading economic growth and tackling the myriad of social and economic problems their countries face. Their reelection, their ability to hold on to power, depends on it.

So it is understandable that the region’s prime ministers are urging, begging, and eventually may have to mandate that their citizens take the vaccine. But what I don’t understand is the failure of the governments to address, allay their people’s fear of the vaccine? Why do they keep focusing on only what they want at the exclusion of what the populace fears. Especially since the fear of covid vaccines isn’t a phobia, isn’t irrational; it’s based on real health risk.

Shame to say I am afraid of toads, but I have never been attacked nor harmed by toads, and except for people with dirty hands sending toads for others, I have never heard of a toad harming anyone. So my fear of toads is irrational. Apparently, it is a learned behavior. My mother feared toads, and so was her mother, my grandmother.

However, unlike my fear of toads, the fear of covid vaccines can’t be cast aside as a phobia, an irrational fear.

According to the WHO, there have been reports of rare but serious cases of blood clots following vaccination with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. As of July 15, 2021, out of every million vaccinated with AstraZeneca, four to six persons have suffered from blood clots. Regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in the US as of 7 May 2021, of the more than eight million people vaccinated, there were 28 reported cases of blood clots under review. And right here in Vieux Fort, my hometown, I’m told of at least one case of someone who died from a blood clot after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine. The WHO has hastened to add that blood clotting is a common health problem that can be caused by many factors, and that the risk of blood clots is much greater from COVID-19 itself than from the vaccines.

Since, according to even the WHO, the fear of taking the vaccine isn’t baseless, rather than simply browbeating their people into taking the vaccine, the prime ministers need to address these fears, explain that though the risk associated with the vaccine isn’t unfounded, the health risk of not taking the vaccine far exceeds that of taking it, so from a public health perspective the government would be derelict in its responsibility to keep the public safe if it doesn’t advocate for vaccination.

Now some persons’ defense for not taking the vaccine is that: what’s the point, even with vaccination, one may still contract the virus and one still has to wear a mask and observe the other COVID protocols. But these contrarians forget an important element of the virus. Long COVID. It turns out that even when one had a case of COVID so mild that one barely realized one had been infected, in the longer-term one can experience such symptoms as brain fog, fatigue, and muscle pain, to name a few, collectively called long COVID, which can last for months or longer. So it seems one shouldn’t underestimate the value of the vaccine in reducing the likelihood of contracting the virus. The safest bet is never to contract COVID.

In this modern era, we live and die by science. Science feeds us, clothes us, transports us, medicates us, dictates how we communicate with each other. We go to a doctor and before we open our mouths to list our symptoms the doctor pulls out his pen and writes a prescription, and we happily pop our prescriptive pills, side effects and all, without a plea, yet we are opposed to the COVID vaccine, indispensable for public health and designed by the same science that gave us the pills that we so happily popped.

Having done all the addressing and appeasing, the prime ministers should not be surprised if a subset of people remain adamant in their opposition to the vaccine, because some have hidden agendas, some have bought into a worldview and are under the spell of a hegemony that doesn’t allow the acceptance of the vaccine, and opposition to the vaccine helps fortify their membership, helps set them apart, helps to nourish, validate their suppositions.

Read the full Jako Productions article.

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  1. Bwa-Banday
    September 14, 2021

    WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!! STOP drinking those fake immune boosters being sold by Dcan BUSH DOCTORS!

    FAKE Immune Boosters made by people some of whom never even even graduated daycare has become a serious issue on island. It beats the hell out of me to why are we so gullible in Dca. They fight about taking the vaccine while drinking all kinds of BS given to them buy someone who does not have a clue what do we mean by immune system.

    • Wakanda Forever
      September 14, 2021

      Experimenting on themselves as opposed to taking a vaccine they consider experimental. SMH

  2. Jonathan Y St Jean
    September 13, 2021

    Most who are hesitant to take the vaccine can’t or aren’t able to present authentic scientific facts to justify their hesitancy to taking the safe vaccines and instead turn to attacking the mesangers who are advocating for vaccination to take control of the virus and help us all return to normalcy.
    I enjoyed the article but must say no one was trying to kill arrogant and idiotic Ralph Gonsalves.

  3. Wakanda Forever
    September 13, 2021

    “What I don’t understand is the failure of the governments to address, allay their people’s fear of the vaccine.”

    You’re not alone. It is mystifying that governments have waited so long – allowing misinformation to congeal in the psyche of a large proportion of people. One can repeat the fact that the vaccines are safe and effective till the cows come home, but that will do nothing to help people whose definition of ‘safe and effective’ differs from yours.

    That is why communication is a 2-way street. Nobody goes to a doctor with lips sealed and just silently accepts a prescription. Why should community level health care be any different? Making vaccines mandatory without having tried every available means to LISTEN to, and educate the public may look like a handy shortcut, but all it seems to be doing is hardening vaccine resistance. Leaders seem surprisingly unaware of how deep these passions run.

  4. Channel 1
    September 12, 2021

    {In this modern era, we live and die by science. Science feeds us, clothes us, transports us, medicates us, dictates how we communicate with each other. }
    Yikes!!!! No wonder the world is where it is now – chaotic, disillusioned and confused.

    By the way, I have a ‘Fear of Doctors – the Non-Medical type’, who pen articles that brand unvaccinated people – many of whom are WISELY CAUTIOUS and have genuine unanswered medical and/or statistical data concerns regarding this Covid illness & ‘vaccines’ – in condescending tones similar to what is observed in the last paragraph of this article.

    Maybe the author of this article could have more wisely spent his time writing on some matter related to agricultural economics or creative fiction for the benefit of the regional Prime Ministers. Phew!!!! 8-O 8-O 8-O

    • Gary
      September 13, 2021

      You made me laugh, thanks, this is good therapy, in these times’ no wonder they say laughter is good for the soul.

  5. No thanks. Sucker
    September 12, 2021

    Shame I wasted my time reading that. After lots of falsehoods from religion to politics. This guy tried so hard to make a case for stealing freedoms and mandating a vaccine. Total idiot.

    And he’s so full of himself too like he shared something of intelligence when at the end of it all its just another baseless emotion driven opinion.

    Go spank it brother. You seem pretty pleased with yourself.

  6. Ibo France
    September 12, 2021

    A very informative and thought provoking article. I don’t subscribe to everything in it but the arguments made by the author are rational and sound in my humble opinion.

    I, too, adamantly disagree with the manner in which many Caribbean leaders are pursuing the matter pertaining to the covid vaccine. They are creating social upheaval with their strong arm tactics by legislating mandatory vaccination for the citizenry.

    Thorough education and gentle persuasion can be much more convincing and much less divisive than the present big stick approach. I’m A living example.

    I was not oppose to taking the vaccine but was very skeptical initially. A relative used genteel persuasion to convince me to take it. Her argument in favour of taking the vaccine was well argued and very cogent without once ever raising her voice. Sometimes less is more.

    • Bwa-Banday
      September 13, 2021

      So I assume you will agree that I was right all along……well baring the fact that I still believe it should be mandated by the Dictator.

      You see, until someone can persuade me there is more to loose by taking the vaccine I will remain resolute that it MUST be mandated in Dca for us to gain control of that evil dreaded decease that those very ones who need to mandate it put upon we the people. When we had less than a hundred affected I would not support a mandate but only if some of us knew how that affecting every nook and cranny of Dca we would be singing a different tune. Now Dr. Mac-in-…is;

      1.Sir, is there anyone in Dca that has been infected more than once?
      2. Sir, can you please disclose to the public the government ministers and their significant others who got the covid-19 and refused to quarantine?
      3. Is it true that the recent death of a very high level straight “backbencher” is covid related?
      They are public figures and we have a right to know.

  7. Roger Burnett
    September 12, 2021

    By way of one DNO commentary after another, never since the time of the missionaries has such persuasion been used to convert the unconverted.

  8. My Dominica
    September 12, 2021

    Twas a good read.

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