Left to Right: Dr Malcolm Grant, Dr Jerrol Thompson & Dr Garrey Michael Dennie
March 2, 2021
Doctors address scepticism on Covid-19 vaccines

A District Medical Officer has reasoned with sceptics as to why he and other doctors who have spent decades saving lives would want to do a 180-degree turn and recommend a product that would impact them negatively.

Two medical doctors and one doctor of history, broke down the Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy during an informative session of Round Table Talk this Wednesday, February 24.

“I think part of it is our personalities. There’s a sense of fear. There’s a virus and we’re not sure what is going to happen. It can create something of a global panic and sometimes the way in which we handle it too, we talk about it, we induce also a sense of fear,” Dr Jerrol Thompson, Infectious Disease Specialist and a medical professional at the forefront of the vaccine drive, opened.

On the other hand, there are actors who “have various motives, who also bring in a lot of false information.”

He noted that there were persons saying that there was a chip in the vaccines, nine months ago, long before the vaccines had been developed.

“I think that there are some common things that they often try, that work. Saying that the vaccine is gonna sterilize the black woman, oh, they always use that. And it’s very effective,” he said.

Thompson also informed that it was false that the vaccine will change one’s DNA.

“…The whole series of things that when people receive a video, and it has about eight or nine things in it; the list builds up that’s often difficult to rebut and persons read those things and it induces the hesitancy,” he explained.

District Medical Officer for the Southern Grenadines, Dr Malcolm Grant, also spoke about the role of social media. He said that vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, but social media has made the propagating of false information a lot easier.

“…It’s very disheartening and I say as a member of the medical profession for over 30 years and Dr Thompson even longer, we have dedicated the majority, certainly of our professional lives, to saving lives, why all of a sudden would we want to do a 180 and want to recommend something that’s gonna have a negative impact on someone’s life, on a personal level?”

He explained that the vaccines are in multi-dose vials, and he had to enlist the help of his adult children to take doses because there wasn’t an uptake in taking vaccines.

“They had said initially that they were going to take it so I said look here’s an opportunity because we don’t want to throw away the medication,” the doctor said.

Grant questioned why he would vaccinate his children with a vaccine if he believed it to be substandard, “that I didn’t have the confidence in, that I actually allowed the nurse to vaccinate me with?”

This “just doesn’t make sense”, he posited.

He cautioned persons to sit back and look to where stories are coming from. Some of them present as bona fide medical articles but quite often the truth may be found when one looks behind the story.

The doctor noted that sometimes persons have axes to grind, for example promoting products, or looking for fame. “There are multiple reasons why individuals promote scepticism,” he reasoned.

Historian Dr Garrey Michael Dennie contemplated from one of the perspectives taken by some individuals.

“If you look at the treatment of black people over the last 200 to 300 years, there have been times when black people have been the subject of medical experiments and treated as guinea pigs,” he noted.

“…So what we see happening is that some of these dishonest propagators or anti-vaxxers have used this information to say wow, since this has been the case in the past then in this moment we cannot trust what’s taking place,” Dennie stated.

He said that this is the wrong lesson to pull from history.

“The fact that we were treated poorly historically doesn’t mean that we’re treated poorly now,” the historian.

We live in a new world, with safeguards in place, the academic said, that did not exist before.

“We have doctors like Thompson and Grant who demonstrate every day of the past 30 years of their lives that they are concerned about our lives,” he assured.

“…We’re not living during slavery, we’re not living during colonial rule. We’re living in a different time when our own people are committed to our own successes,” Dennie said.

He encouraged people that when our doctors tell us something is in our best interest, “we’ve got to trust them”.