Sint Eustatius – Regeringscommissaris Alida Francis heeft zich met een indringende oproep tot de Statianen gericht: negeer misleidende informatie over vaccins. Zij verwijst daarbij naar enkele niet bij naam genoemde “invloedrijke mensen” die met hun “eigen feiten” eilandgenoten in gevaar brengen.
Sint Eustatius kent een lage vaccinatiegraad, is lang gespaard gebleven voor een grote uitbraak, maar heeft op dit moment te maken met een groot aantal coronabesmettingen. Deze week eiste het virus de eerste dode op het eiland.
Message from Government Commissioner Alida Francis
As Government Commissioner I come to you r to express my concern that the number of Statian residents taking their first or second shot of the vaccine has trickled to a virtual halt, coinciding with the fall in new cases. This is a concerning development because we simply cannot endure a fresh spike. The impact on us, our jobs, our lives and livelihood could be severe. Now, I know the issue of vaccination is a contentious and vexing one. Many of you remain hesitant, and I think it is OK to have questions and to disagree.
Let me make it extremely clear here that this is not about the vaccinated versus the non-vaccinated – as I have repeatedly stated form the start of the pandemic almost two years ago. Statia needs all hands on deck if we are to tackle this virus. What is at stake, however, is the welfare and well-being of everyone who lives on this paradise that we call home.
So while we may disagree, let us do so respectfully. But the fact that you disagree with highly qualified experts does not mean you are entitled to your own facts. In this vein, it pains me to have to address the issue of false and misleading information that is being peddled by a few influential people. It does not matter to them that the misinformation they spread is not supported by science, or research or the evidence. It does not matter to them that put you, your children and your loved ones in jeopardy. What matters are the likes and shares and endorsements of the few who approve of what they do.
You have heard these falsehoods again and again. So I will not repeat them. However, let me appeal to you to turn to trusted sources for your information. Turn to the people who have spent a lifetime researching viruses and vaccines, including the Covid vaccine. Sometimes what you read may seem credible. What you hear may appear convincing. But, please check and cross-check the source. Dig into the background of the sources, find out what they specialize in. And ask yourself, is this person qualified to give advice on the Covid vaccine?
Think about this. Would you go to a dental surgeon for heart surgery? Or ask your history professor to fix your computer? I suspect not. Because while they are both highly qualified, they are not experts in the field that you are asking them to perform. It is for this reason that you must be wary of those who weave a tangled web of falsehoods and misinformation. As Government Commissioner, I appeal you to turn to trusted sources when it comes to Covid and the vaccine. When it comes to Covid and the vaccines, here are some facts:
- Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The dramatic reduction in hospitalizations and deaths since the introduction of the vaccines is evidence of this
- Reports of adverse events following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.
- Serious adverse events, including reports of deaths, after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.
- With the onset of the Omicron variant, many more of you, including some who are vaccinated, will likely contract the virus, but these cases are highly unlikely to lead to serious illness.
- Vaccinated people who get COVID may get ill, but they are protected from severe illness and death.
These are the facts. It may not be what some want to hear, but this is the evidence as presented by the experts; by people who have conducted years of research and whose research has been scrutinized by dozens of their peers. Timothy Snyder, the specialist in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust said: “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case.”
Let us not abandon the facts. Instead, please join the fight against Covid-19. Let us tackle it at our borders, fight it in our communities, our schools and our churches. Let us confront it at home and in the streets. We must take on this monster together. As one. The Government cannot do it alone. You cannot do it alone. To win this fight we must fight together on the same team.
Let us do it for you, for your families, friends and loved ones. Let us do it for Statia. And, let us do it for the healthcare worker whom you know, whom you love and cherish and trust; the fatigued and worried healthcare worker who desperately needs our support.