The New Today

Letters

Keeping the unvaccinated safe from the vaccinated

When the MOH determines that it’s safe to end weekend lock downs, reduce curfew hours, reduce restrictions and protocols on our social, business, and civic activities, will the Government institute policies that protect the UNVACCINATED from the VACCINATED and vice versa?

For instance, once we are allowed to reopen our restaurants and bars it will be interesting to see if VACCINATED and UNVACCINATED locals and foreigners will be free to mix and mingle as they did before this current lockdown, or whether there will be restrictions in certain venues and establishments where proof of vaccine will be required.

Perhaps restaurants and bars will need to set up separate and distinct areas for staff and patrons that are VACCINATED from those that are not. If you recall a similar arrangement was required when we reopened our ports of entry.

By summer of 2020 Hoteliers were told by the MOH to set up their facilities designating areas for quarantine and non-quarantine patrons. In fact, the MOH would not allow us to reopen unless we complied with these and other Covid protocols.

Now that we know for a FACT that those who are UNVACCINATED are 5 times more likely to contact and spread Covid, 10 more likely to get seriously ill and need hospitalisation, and 11 times more likely to die, would it not be in everyone’s best interest, to be GIVEN A CHOICE of patronising restaurants, bars, social gathering venues, stores, shops, offices, businesses etc. that have signage that says for example, -(V)- which would simply acknowledge to all those who wish to enter, that “our staff is “Fully Vaccinated” and at this time, we are only catering to “Vaccinated Clientele”.

Will the Grenadian Gov’t institute any consequences/restrictions for the UNVACCINATED as the Governments in the UK, USA and Canada and many other countries have done?

These policies have been very effective in that they encourage and incentivise people to get VACCINATED, reduce transmission, generate more business, and give the patrons and staff much more “peace of mind” that they are in a much “safer” environment.

Today the Government decided to extend weekend lock downs, curfews and the rest of the Covid protocols for at least another two weeks.

SGU has closed on campus learning for at least two weeks and told foreign students that they could return home for online classes for the remainder of the term if they so choose.

Although vaccination and testing initiatives have ramped up and more people are taking “the Jab”, whether or not these measures are enough to turn things around and allow us to get our lives back to normal sooner than later is undetermined.

The data seems to suggest that 70% or more of the population need to vaccinate before a country can see light at the end of the tunnel.

In recent weeks as community spread has exploded throughout the island, Grenadians are getting more and more concerned about the threat of contacting Covid and more worried that the economic impact will start to spread more widely.

Further demise of the tourism industry which represents 40 % of GDP will ripple through the larger economy and negatively impact more and more workers and businesses.

In addition, I’m sure Grenadians are also getting angry and frustrated with all the restrictions, lockdowns, curfews and Covid protocols, and in turn, many more will do the right thing, wake up and accept the fact that vaccinations are undoubtedly, the quickest, safest and surest way out of this mess.

The stress and danger, the sickness and death, the interruptions to our lives and livelihoods are largely self-inflicted at this point. We can turn this around in 6 weeks. with the right policies.

We can still have a very productive “High Season”, get the island back on its feet, keep our citizens from serious illness, out of the hospital and dying from Covid if we have a strategy that encourages us all to do the right thing and vaccinate.

Those who do not, will not only remain at risk, but may be marginalised and restricted to some degree, as to what they can do, where they can go and when.

Although Grenada has been put on a “Level 4, Do Not Travel” list from the CDC in the USA, we are still Green listed from the UK. The right policies will reverse the former and maintain the latter.

No doubt, the anti-vaxers will challenge any restrictions to themselves as illegal, discriminatory, ineffective, and so on. They may even claim that being segregated from the VACCINATED in this matter amounts to a type of “Vaccine Apartheid”.

However, if we explain the risks to the UNVACCINATED in the following manner, perhaps they too will understand the need to separate: For example, rather than blame the UNVACCINATED for keeping this pandemic from being contained by their irrational, dangerous and unconscionable behaviour, which, they truly are, we explain to them how dangerous it is for them to be around VACCINATED people and that we are going to do whatever we can to protect them, by making sure that we do not mingle with them where and when that is possible.

After all, it just MAY BE that the VACCINATED, who can spread Covid too, who, we know for a fact, are many, many times more likely to experience LITTLE to NO SYMPTONS from the virus than the UNVACCINATED, could be a big part of the current spread.

In the USA, during the Spring, the VACCINATED were told to go out and have fun, mingle, socialise, take your mask off, whatever….and Americans did so with a vengeance. By summer unfortunately, Covid started to spread again at an alarming rate, but over 98% of those being hospitalised, and 99% of those who are dying, were, and still are the UNVACCINATED.

What we are now experiencing is a “PANDEMIC OF THE UNVACCINATED” and that is true in Grenada as well as the USA.

Remember, by Aug 1, 2021, only fully vaccinated foreigners were permitted to enter Grenada. That being the case, we have to keep in mind that not only are VACCINATED people a lot less likely to get symptoms, but they are also probably less likely to test positive due to miniscule amounts of viral loads, in their system, if they have any at all.

Therefore, if they do contract the virus or when they do test positive, they are shocked to learn so, as they don’t even have so much as a runny nose.

Just yesterday SGU confirmed that the few students or staff that have contacted the virus “have little to no symptoms.”

Meanwhile, many of those POOR UNVACCINATRED SOULS who have been in contact with the ASYMPTOMATIC VACCINATED FOLKS, may get really sick, end up in the hospital and may even die. This could very well be the scenario that occurred in Grenada this summer that started the community spread.

Once again, when the Government of Grenada feels that they are gaining control over the current spread, and we all hope and pray that it will be sooner rather than later, I hope the Government puts in place vaccine protocols to protect all those UNVACCINATED Grenadians who may be getting infected by exposure to VACCINATED Grenadians and foreigners….and vice versa.

Mike Meranski