On Monday of this week, in a message to his membership, Oswald Robinson, President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) made an official response to the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate which becomes effective November 19, 2021. It is an understatement to say that Mr Robinson’s message was disappointing.
Our disappointment lies not so much in his rejection of the mandatory vaccination policy or his entreaty to his members to stand firm; he has a right under the Constitution to express his opinion, no matter how misguided that position is.
We however never thought we would see the day when a leader of workers, an educator at that, would refer to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “staged crisis” and attack the case for mandatory vaccination as being made “under the disguise of a Public Health Emergency”.
These statements are beyond obscene. As we went to press yesterday, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) had lost 65 souls to the deadly virus, 29 people were hospitalized and there were 1791 known active cases. Which of these 65 deaths were staged? Are the bereaved putting up a pretence? Are the over two dozen people, many struggling to breathe, who are currently being treated at our health facilities, just putting on an act? Does Mr Robinson truly believe that the Government of SVG, with the full complicity of our health professionals and other citizens, is engaged in a massive fraud against our people? Shame on you Mr President!
But while Mr Robinson has the right to his opinions, he has no such privilege in relation to facts and should not be allowed to continue to mislead his members. It would be interesting to learn from which source he gets the authority to assert that a COVID-19 vaccine “does not in any way prevent any of us from contracting or spreading it”?
This statement is simply stunning. It is either that Mr Robinson is deliberately and knowingly spreading false information on the COVID-19 vaccines or he is willfully and utterly ignorant of the scientific achievement that these vaccines represent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC) says on its website which was updated as recently as September 15, 2021 that “…data show fully vaccinated persons are less likely than unvaccinated persons to acquire SARS-CoV-2, and infections with the Delta variant in fully vaccinated persons are associated with less severe clinical outcomes. Infections with the Delta variant in vaccinated persons potentially have reduced transmissibility than infections in unvaccinated persons, although additional studies are needed.
Not only does the CDC say so, but so too do other medical regulatory authorities all around the world. The Victorian Department of Health in Australia reported recently that they have found that unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to contract COVID than the vaccinated. They also report that their studies show that vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the disease even if they become infected, and that modelling from August 2021 puts the reduction at around 65 per cent.
While Mr Robinson’s statement on the ineffectiveness of the vaccines shows up either ignorance or malice, in describing the pandemic as fraudulent, he has revealed something much worse: extreme callousness and a complete lack of conscience. His statements demonstrate such a depraved indifference to the loss of lives of our people in this ongoing pandemic that it singles him out as unworthy of the distinction he carries as President of the SVGTU.