Suggestions For The Pandemic by Dr Victor Eastmond (Ret’d)

My question today is “How serious are we about improving the status of Barbados during this Covid-19 pandemic?” Dr. Etienne of PAHO has continually observed there is a need to take the pandemic seriously but discussion still continue about individuals’ rights and/or mandates. I hope the editor will publish my personal view on this subject as the continual spiking of new variants in China, Barbados and elsewhere leaves the lingering pandemic still on our doorstep.

I am extremely happy with the way in which our leadership and our ministries of government has handled this uninvited guest which landed in our country but because Barbados is a tourist-oriented country upon which employment and foreign exchange depend, we must continue to review and improve on the methods implemented to further stabilize and improve.

Such efforts must include more genuine education to the public to negate the anti-pandemic social media opinions which, when read, are most convincing and thereby allows the virus to spread by inducing public fear. I feel Barbados will continue to improve if we all become soldiers in this war by reviewing these two important areas of education and cost.

Education.

Education must be continually reinforced in any subject. On this subject, I recommend utilising visuals which demonstrate the severity that is posed by this invisible and sometimes unknown viral transmission. This can be done with videos of the 1918 Asian flu or current videos that demonstrates similar symptoms and consequences. They can be shown on national TV, social media, and schools to create the realistic view. As the Bajan saying goes, ‘Seeing is believing’.

Cost.

The vaccine comes at a cost to our financial reserves as Government is mandated to look after our public health under WHO directives. In my opinion, vaccines should be recommended but not mandated as individual choice is necessary under human rights. Barbados must therefore let its population know that it will accede to its responsibility to provide the requisite vaccine for its people BUT there must be timeline in which it should be done. After that time, anyone thereafter requiring such service(s), should pay a fee to cover its cost, importation, and administration. This will hopefully prevent wastage due to its disposal created by the expiry date. I must also add that unvaccinated infected persons can place an added cost on healthcare requirements and resources of Barbados as shown by data if the need for resuscitation occurs.

Conclusion

I am in support of opening the economy with cropover and other events that will boost our economy (especially our foreign reserves) which is much needed. These events will however need to have stringent monitoring of protocols with which I believe every Barbadian is now familiar to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading via cross infection.

As a person in the higher age group with risk factors, I am a proponent for the vaccine but feel its distribution must be tightened because I see no reason why wastage of the vaccines and loss of investment should occur.

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