When the vaccination programme for the 40+ age group opened, the mutterings on both sides of the fence got louder, as it went from a hypothetical situation to a put your money where your mouth is sort of thing.
A lot of noise comes from the no camp. Declarations of distrust in the vaccine, lack of proper testing and of course, the highly publicised, very rare, risk of developing blood clots and thrombosis.
A valid concern, considering women in their 40s are most susceptible to this side effect. An onslaught of bad publicity for the AstraZeneca jab, and some far fetched stories I heard from someone who knows someone, has made vaccines a dirty word.
I’ve even heard (from a friend of a friend of course) that people show up to their appointment and get cold feet while waiting in the queue and turn back home. The impetus to take the vaccine is present but the overriding fear of the unknown eventually takes over.
The risks are practically negligible, with expert health authorities putting the vaccines to the test against some of the highest levels of scrutiny. The world is facing a crisis and we have, right here at our disposal, a solution. Why would you choose not to take it?
A solution that will begin a recovery journey for our crippled catering, hospitality and entertainment industries and economy at large. A solution that will allow us to walk barefaced, gather in groups and resume contact, both social and physical.
For this to happen, a sizeable chunk of the Maltese population needs to get vaccinated. A number substantial enough to provide immunity for the rest of the nation. The country has already shown its willingness to get vaccinated with roughly one in five people already receiving the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. We cannot let the good work of health authorities count for nought.
Vaccination is a community service, a duty, and a privilege. It is not about the individual but about the bigger picture. This is how we protect our children and the generations to come. We equip them with the right tools and information to ensure they are well armed to fight current and future pandemics.
Many times during 2020, COVID-19 was compared to a war, and like any war, casualties are part of the process. Every death is a tragedy, whether that’s Ramiro Mallia, Julian Spiteri, Miriam Pace, or the many who lost their lives because of COVID-19.
However, the devastating loss of these people’s lives greatly impacted my understanding of how unpredictable life is. Tomorrow is promised to nobody. I can’t understand sitting on the fence when you can contribute positively to the outcome of this story.
Perhaps I’m a little late to this conversation. As I said, it became a topic of conversation for me once the option to vaccinate opened to my age group, who are a generation of party-goers who popped ecstasy pills and various substances of questionable quality quite casually.
The irony of this resistance to laboratory tested drugs designed by the biggest brains in the land is not lost on me. True, that was many years ago and we were young and foolish. But age has also made us cynical, distrusting and perhaps a lot more aware of our own fragile mortality.
Vaccination is not only about protecting yourself. It’s about creating power in numbers and the means to achieve those numbers certainly justifies the end.
Is vaccination the final step in the fight against COVID-19? Most certainly not, but it is a crucial line of defense that will buy us more time and allow for more research and understanding about this virus that literally turned the whole world upside down.
Go get vaccinated. Trust the health authorities who want nothing more than to get this situation under control and allow us to return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life.
Register today at www.vaccin.gov.mt to be part of the solution, not the problem.
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Will you take the COVID-19 vaccine?