Ole Talk and the COVID-19 vaccine: What social media doctors won’t tell you.
In the remote seaside village, another day drifts to a close. Intense sunshine gives way to cooling ocean breezes. Tired women walk home carrying bags of groceries; children kick an old football. Elders sit on their front porches, watching as volunteers chat with residents about the COVID-19 vaccine. Beneath the charm of this place lies another, more unsettling story. Increasingly, generations of families are dying from coronavirus. Why? Refusal to take the vaccine.
Facts versus information from so-called Medical Experts of Social Media (MESS)
Villagers challenge the volunteers. How was the vaccine developed so quickly? If the vaccine is so effective, why are people who took it still dying?
Fortunately, respected members of the village - an ex-tempo champion, a national footballer and a young doctor – are part of the outreach. They are all vaccinated and very concerned about their community. They remind the villagers that people take medication for high blood pressure or even the common cold, trusting it would help them without knowing all the ingredients. They explain that the COVID-19 vaccine contains only a weakened version of the virus, not the virus itself. They draw simple pictures to demonstrate how it helps their bodies build up defences against becoming ill.
The volunteers remind that the vaccine significantly improves our chances of survival, but some people could have health complications which reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. However, in Trinidad and Tobago 90 percent of people needing COVID-19 emergency care are not vaccinated.
An older woman takes their flyer. “Chile, I remember when your mother use to teach in the primary school. Now look at you eh? A doctor.” The community talks with the volunteers long into the evening, appreciative that they had taken the time to share facts about the vaccine. Many lives had already been lost, so the villagers listened …
Vaccinate today...live tomorrow!
Did you know?
- Global research into SARS (the virus that causes COVID-19) and MERS started as early as 2002, with the emergence of the SARS epidemic. This research provided the experience and groundwork to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
- For many decades prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists developed vaccines using the mRNA and adenovirus technologies.
- The outbreak of Ebola in 2015 led to the formation of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) in 2017, a global partnership to develop better strategies for dealing with similar outbreaks. That collaboration facilitated a global effort by leading scientists and researchers to expedite the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
Choose the facts. Choose life.