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No One Is Safe Until All of Us Are Safe: The COVID-19 Vaccine and Freedom of Choice

Carla and Ricky hand their vaccination cards to the Welcome Receptionist. Inside the restaurant, waiters smilingly serve well-spaced out groups of customers.

“Ricky, I wish Akilah was here.”

“Me too. She would have loved this place. Well, you know she still deciding about the vaccine.”

“Yeah, it’s her choice… But she missing out because this food looking real nice!”

Vaccinations and Freedom of Choice

“Immunisation is a key component of primary health care and an indisputable human right. Vaccines are also critical to the prevention and control of infectious-disease outbreaks.”

The WHO does not presently support mandatory vaccination, preferring instead to encourage people to trust in the decades of scientific research behind the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is “not uncommon for governments and institutions to mandate certain actions or types of behaviour in order to protect the wellbeing of individuals or communities,” for example, wearing seatbelts. Choices are constantly being made between protecting the nation and preserving individual human rights. Safe zones, vaccination cards and safety guidelines are some of the measures designed to protect all citizens.

Regrettably, the COVID-19 vaccine has been associated with conspiracies to limit personal freedoms. Thus, as more countries and businesses require proof of vaccination to work, travel and enjoy simple pleasures, the choice about whether to vaccinate or not is more contentious than ever.

In Trinidad and Tobago, people are free to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. While this is so, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that unvaccinated persons are at a greater risk of becoming infected, hospitalisation and even death. Vaccines are therefore the better choice to allow us to return to the lives we enjoyed before coronavirus, along with continuation of the public health and social measures.

“So you all feel you could enjoy nice food without me eh?”

“Akilah! When you take the vaccine? Ricky, you real underneath!”

Vaccinate today….live tomorrow!

Did you know?

– The COVID-19 vaccine was developed after three clinical trials and rigorous, independent monitoring and testing. The WHO only approves vaccines that are safe and effective for you and your family.

– The conduct of research is ongoing to determine how long the COVID-19 vaccine will provide protection. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Health encourages older persons and those with co-morbidities to choose the additional primary dose being offered.

– Vaccines approved by the WHO provide excellent protection from severe disease and hospitalisation against Delta and other variants. Vaccines also help our immune system to fight infections faster. Nothing in the vaccine affects our genetic code.

Choose the facts. Choose life.