by Linda Straker
- Lower House of Parliament supports resolution to extend State of Emergency
- More educational programmes about importance of vaccine shots needed
- Poor and vulnerable populations will suffer most if there is another outbreak
Anthony Boatswain, who was recently appointed as chairman of the Covid-19 Sub-Committee wants to see more educational programmes about the importance of vaccine shots, targeting the poor and vulnerable populations because they are the ones who will suffer the most if there is another outbreak.
Grenada currently has roughly 31,000 citizens who are classified as fully vaccinated, but the Ministry of Health official said that approximately 90,000 are eligible for the shots. “This is below, significantly below the level that should allow us to become comfortable and complacent because the historical benchmark or the international benchmark is about 70% to 80% to achieve herd immunity and we are way below that,” Boatswain said while deliberating on a resolution to extend the state of emergency to May 2022 in a special sitting of the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.
“It means, that notwithstanding the need to create that easement we cannot become too complacent and how far we could go with that level of vaccination. It means, therefore, that the focus must be on increasing vaccination uptake, that has to be because it has been proven that this is the most effective weapon,” he said.
“Is only when we achieve that level of herd immunity then we can feel more comfortable in opening up, restoring normalcy although it is said and I do believe that this virus will be with us for some time and what we will achieve is not the restoration of normalcy of what we had before but what we will call the new normal,” said Boatswain.
Boatswain told the Parliament that the data from those already vaccinated show that mainly the middle up class are vaccinated. “80% of those vaccinated are from that class…The majority of unvaccinated reside in rural areas who are poor and vulnerable,” he said.
“It means, that we have to look at certain educational programmes if we don’t believe in this concept of mandatory vaccine, how do we reach those people out there because they are the most vulnerable ones,” said the recently appointed chairman. The Covid-19 sub-committee is an advisory body to the Cabinet on Covid-19 matters. “What type of programmes can we put in place? A strong case can be made to look at the education outreach programme. How can we reach those people because they are vulnerable to all kinds of anti-vaccine propaganda.”
“They are very vulnerable, very susceptible but it means that we have to counter that and I am hoping that in moving forward with this state of emergency we do have a more rigorous education programme to reach the poor and vulnerable rural residents because they are the ones who are at risk, the highest risk.” Boatswain is the Parliamentary Representative for the constituency of St Patrick West.
All members of the Lower House of Parliament support the resolution to extend the State of Emergency.
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