Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte: “You choose, Covid vaccine or I’ll have you jailed!” (June 21, 2021 ).

The president said he is “exasperated” by reports of vaccine hesitancy in the capital amid slow roll-out.

Five days later, he asked the vaccine decliners to leave the country and go to India or somewhere, or to America. “Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis being faced in this country, there is a national emergency.”

He said the first wave really depleted the resources of the government; now another would be disastrous.

Meanwhile, France’s President Emmanuel Macron last weekend said, “I no longer have any intention of sacrificing my life, my time, my freedom and the adolescence of my daughters as well as their right to study properly, for those who refuse to be vaccinated. This time you stay at home, not us.”

In France, those who do not get vaccinated will no longer be able to go restaurants, cafes, cinemas, museums, planes, trains. Alternatively, citizens will have to provide a negative test, which will no longer be free.

He also announced the vaccination obligation for medical personnel and those in contact with fragile people. From September 15, 2021, a nurse who has refused to get vaccinated will no longer be able to go to work and earn a salary.

He emphasised “we cannot make those who have the civic sense to get vaccinated bear the burden of inconvenience”.

Trinidad and Tobago now marches towards safety. With the recent arrival of 800,000 Sinopharm vaccines and the swift measures being used to get our citizens vaccinated, the future indeed looks bright.

Our prime minister stated in a television interview with former government minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie that “Covid 19 vaccination law isn’t on the front burner”, but admitted it’s a conversation that’s already being had in the public”.

The prime minister said the Government has no intention to force someone to take the shot, but... its only intention, if it decides to make vaccination mandatory, is to protect life.

Folks, let us hope this law does not come to the front-burner! He likened the vaccine to “just like how we don’t play with our children and polio”.

The prime minister claims he has faith people will come out and get the vaccine so that such a decision will not be required. After all, aren’t our well-known national watchwords “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve”?

Terrence Kalloo

via e-mail


As it prepares to ramp up its communications to counteract vaccine hesitancy, the Ministry of Health’s best chance for success lies in aligning its messaging to the concerns of its target audience.

With the race now on to get vaccines into arms before the more transmissible Delta variant arrives, it might be too late for crafting a scientifically sound public awareness campaign. Nonetheless, a willingness to listen and learn will go a long way in erasing lingering doubts and changing minds.

I have termed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his Finance Minister Colm Imbert the “Diego Martin dinosaurs”, politicians “intellectually fossilised by fossil fuels” who failed to see the global energy revolution threatening the nation’s economy, about which I warned repeatedly for five years.

I got vaccinated last week. I received the first of two doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. I chose the drive-through option at the Ato Boldon Stadium because it is close to my home and I didn’t have to leave the privacy or comfort of my car to queue up at any stage of the proceedings, which is helpful to people who suffer with Parkinson’s and similar neurological disorders.

Once more, the families of seafarers are left to mourn the death of their relatives out at sea. This time the victims are two fishermen who apparently were attacked by pirates.

The incidents of people drowning at sea have become far too prevalent. It is time the authorities make the wearing of life jackets on open vessels mandatory. This would help to save the lives of many people, whether they are fishermen or people on pleasure trips.

Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services.

Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context-specific, varying across time, place and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.

There is a story about a Samaritan called “good” in the Bible because he did not walk past a suffering Jew. He had no prior relationship with the man lying beaten on the roadside, was not part of his community, yet he acted out of compassion. Giving up his rights and freedom, he helped the man recover and get on with life.