There is an old saying that most Vincentians are familiar with. It goes something like this, “Fowl who nah hear shoo, does feel boop.” Normally, this is used to mean if you are not heeding instructions, you will have to face the consequences of not doing so. This Vincentian proverb is commonly used to refer to many life situations and often parents would use this as a way of warning wayward children.
As I reflect on the COVID-19 situation and the rise in vaccine hesitancy, I am reminded how applicable this proverb can be. Almost two years into the pandemic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded almost close to four thousand cases. Until recently, COVID-19 deaths were rare. However, over the last few weeks the death toll has seen a dramatic increase reaching 28 by Friday 1st October.
It is clear that COVID-19 is here. For those who doubted the existence of the disease and the reported number of positive cases from the authorities, I am certain that these twenty-eight unfortunate deaths serve as a reminder that this thing is real, and we must take action.
Public health workers have been working since the start of the pandemic to encourage the nation to adhere to the prevention and control measures such as wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, yet some blatantly disregard these measures. The authorities have also been going non-stop to encourage vaccination that has been proven to reduce severe infection, hospitalization, and deaths yet people come up with all sorts of excuses why they should not take the vaccines. As a public health practitioner, I heard almost all of these reasons and I must say that most of them are based in misinformation and disinformation.
It is time for us as a nation to take this thing seriously before it is too late. We must all recognize that we are living in a pandemic and we must heed the prevention measures. We must also recognize that the vaccine is probably the best way to protect ourselves and to get over the pandemic. If we fail to do act today, then the chances of contracting and spreading the virus will increase. Moreover, we must put aside foolish thinking and ideologies and rely on the science. Failure to do so, the fowl will unfortunately feel boop.