It was daunting that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh had to resort to begging citizens to access the hundreds of thousands of vaccines available to them now during Saturday’s news conference.
With the doors open to anyone over the age of 18, we hear that the number of people coming forward to be vaccinated has slowed down, despite around 600,000 people still not yet vaccinated.
Thankfully the government has recognised the need for a mobilisation campaign to get those who are without transportation to the mass vaccination sites.
But there’s also a need for a stronger communications campaign. The government has done well to regularly update the nation at each stage of the battle at its news conferences.
The Vaccinate To Operate campaigns have also been successful as business organisations communicated with their workers on the need to get vaccinated, thereby vaccinating tens of thousands.
But there is still a huge group of people who simply aren’t being reached, or worse, are being captured by anti-vaccination messages.
Although the government has paved the way for several cultural representatives to travel abroad to earn revenue during these tough times, there has not been much given back in return.
Soca artistes and other cultural icons have huge captive audiences at Carnival events and throughout the year. They, together with sports personalities, have huge followings on social media platforms. Why have their messages to their followers been so few?
The same can be said for Carnival bands, which also capture huge followings each year.
Is there no way that they too can launch campaigns that would drive the message home that for the country to return to normal, we must give ourselves a fighting chance by accessing the vaccines available to us?
After all, they too will benefit from a wider vaccinated population.
The truth is, no matter how good a message is, some are tainted by who says it and in the case of political figures, there are no guarantees that the messages would take root.
The mobilisation campaign now must go beyond the talking heads at the podium, regardless of how important their words may be.
Two months ago the loudest voices were those demanding that the government acquire enough vaccines to ensure the saving of lives and livelihoods.
Where are those voices today now that the vaccines are here?
Among those also holding huge influence over large groups of people, are spiritual leaders. Some have advised their congregants not to take the vaccines based on their doctrines.
While the freedoms to choice remain intact, one can only hope that good sense prevails.
The unvaccinated must surely know that they are more of a health threat to themselves and to those of like-minded, than they are to the vaccinated ones who stand a higher chance of survival even if they contract the virus. Taking the vaccine can do only more good than harm.
And this is a message that must be pushed at every level and particularly by those with the largest influences.
We all know that a large unvaccinated population continues to pose an economic threat to everyone as measures to curb the spread of the virus must remain in place.
It cannot be fair that those who choose not to be vaccinated, should hold the rest of the country to ransom.
For every church leader advising his congregants against the vaccine, there is a church leader longing to preach to his congregation face-to-face again. For every worker resisting the jab, there is a worker out of a job longing for the economy to reopen. For every person advising others not to take the vaccine, there is someone wishing their late loved one had taken it.
And until such time that the more stringent measures become necessary, for every voice that speaks against the vaccine, there must be more and louder voices speaking for it.