By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — Prime minister Mia Amor Mottley is pleading with unvaccinated Barbadians “to do what is necessary” to protect themselves and their loved ones. Mottley made the comments Tuesday at the Grantley Adams International Airport after Barbados received 30,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and 32,000 syringes from the government of the People’s Republic of China.
In thanking China for the gift, which she said would allow 15,000 more Barbadians to be vaccinated, the prime minister promised that her government would continue to try its best to get more vaccines.
“I ask all Barbadians, therefore, to recognise that we have done as a government, what we must do and can do, but the ball is now in your court. We can do no more. The ball is in your court to say yes to vaccination, and to understand that the majority of the over 90,000 people who have taken one vaccine, and the 65,000 or so who have taken two, … are still here and that we are hopefully in a position to encourage those of you who have not taken, that the time has come.
“The ball is in the court of the people of Barbados who have not yet taken this vaccine. I pray … that you will do what is necessary to protect you and to protect your loved ones. We can only ask you,” she stated.
Prime minister Mottley stressed that a vaccinated person’s chances of becoming infected with COVID-19 were far less than if the individual was not inoculated. She added that a vaccinated person’s chances of becoming seriously ill were miniscule and noted that taking the vaccine could make a difference to a family’s quality of life.
The prime minister continued: “Therefore, what I am saying to you is that if you know you have access to the one tool that can protect you, do you continue to stand outside the house and say you don’t want to go in the house to access that tool, and leave yourself completely vulnerable to this thing, that you don’t have to go anywhere to catch it?
“I ask the people of this country, who I love dearly, to please consider these things. I don’t have the capacity to order anybody to do anything when it comes to a vaccine. But I also want you to know that you have to pick sense from what is going on and all of the conspiracy theories and all of the fake news that is out there on the internet. The question is, in whose interest is it, because those of us who take the tool that exists to minimise sickness and to minimise death, know the worth of the vaccine.”
The prime minister acknowledged that like everything else in life, there is always a small risk. However, she emphasised that the risk of not taking the vaccine was far greater. She told Barbadians the minister of health and many others had been vaccinated and they were fine and encouraged families, communities and employees in the workplace to have those serious conversations about being vaccinated.
Mortley said even though the country had “turned the corner from the worst moments”, citizens should not let down their guard.
Highlighting the rapidity of the virus, Mortley noted that some countries, which were recently viewed as a model for others, were now struggling to contain the spread of the virus; and reminded the audience that the World Health Organization had reported that vaccinated persons should continue to wear their masks, especially in the absence of herd immunity.