I am under 70 years of age and I have no co-morbidities, I am not obese, and I can climb up a steep hill, which I do every day effortlessly. This does not put me in a cohort that Covid-19 will not seriously affect—I can still contract it and die in an ICU.
As an ICU practitioner, I am distraught when I see young, otherwise healthy, patients dying due to Covid-19. Anecdotes do not constitute robust medical evidence.
Let us assume for a moment that the overall mortality is 1.3 per cent (albeit, not the same throughout the world), and assume that 400,000 people got infected in T&T. Now, 5,200 people would have died—this is still “preventable” mortality.
In these days, age is just a number, and it is shocking when someone suggests that it is okay for a person to die if they crossed the life expectancy! It is also preposterous to suggest it is okay to die if someone has co-morbidities or if they are obese!
If one is really interested in statistical evidence, one must refer to the real scientific studies and not manipulated statistics to satisfy one’s own agenda!
Put another way, I know the risks of Covid-19; the risk of developing severe disease remains unknown for me—ie, I do not know if I am one of the 1.3 per cent who will have a severe disease and die from it and, hence, I took the vaccine.
The risk of dying from Covid vaccine is 0.0017 per cent, and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says even this number has not been fully ratified to establish that the deaths were indeed due to the vaccine!
Basic principles and lockdowns followed by public health guidelines globally are based on sound epidemiological concepts of transmissibility. It is blatantly false to mention Covid-19 poses no danger to healthy persons!
There are clear epidemiological reasons for getting vaccinated. All studies conducted so far show that the vaccinated individuals clear the viruses faster than the unvaccinated, and their viral-load is lesser.
This is the start for the so-called “herd immunity”, and vaccination is the better way to achieve herd immunity than losing thousands of people to the disease and achieving it. It is only wrong to propagate false information!
I took vaccine as I feel I do have an ethical responsibility of protecting the population as a whole, in addition to myself.
I know there can be breakthrough infections even after I take the vaccine, and that is why until the herd immunity is formed by rapid uptake of vaccine by the majority of the population and the “outbreak” ends, I will still follow public health guidelines.
Finally, personal freedom has its limits when it affects another person. You may swing your umbrella on the street as you walk—that is your freedom, but only as long as its tip doesn’t touch another walking person’s nose!
Get your vaccine to help yourself as well as the community. Losing a little freedom for the greater common good does not hurt us!
Hariharan Seetharaman, professor of anaesthesia and critical care medicine, The UWI