Leader of the Opposition, Dr Godwin Friday is encouraging the population at large to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dr. Friday, his wife and one of his sons received their first shots of the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine on February 14, at the Bequia clinic.
They were among those who received from the 5,000 doses, which allow for two doses each to 2,500 persons, that this country received from Dominica from 70,000 doses donated by India.
This initial vaccination campaign was said to have targetted frontline workers as well as vulnerable persons in society – persons over 65 and those with underlying complications.
However, after some skepticism on the part of frontline workers, health officials adjusted the campaign to target other persons.
The Opposition Leader explained that he was contacted about a week and a half prior to getting the vaccine by Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), who indicated that they were receiving some vaccines and asked whether he would be interested in being among the first to be vaccinated.
“I suppose it was partly to do with public relations to try to encourage people that public officials were taking the vaccine,” Dr. Friday said on the February 15 edition of the New Times programme.
He said that he had done his research and was confident about taking the vaccine. His wife also showed interest and then his son, who he admitted was not initially among the target group.
But although his son was interested in being vaccinated against, Dr. Friday said it was not indicative of a widespread attitude among young persons.
He opined that there were large portions of the population, not least the young, who were hesitant about taking the vaccine.
He did acknowledge, however, that the decision to be vaccinated or not was a private decision for each resident/citizen.
Dr. Friday also spoke on the concept known as herd or population immunity which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), was the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.
The only way that this country would be able to get back to some level of normalcy was through population immunity, Dr. Friday posited, and highlighted the vaccine as one way of getting to that point.