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Urgent need to desist from conspiracy theories and to support the envisaged vaccination effort

KGOSIETSILE NGAKAAGAE
There is grave skepticism, about the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It is all, understandable. It is surely, not one of the conspiracy theories about Bill Gates wanting to kill all of Africa by instrument of a COVID19 vaccine, which I think, is a load of compost. Frankly, I doubt it has anything to do with politics, either. These are genuine concerns from people who are concerned about their lives, and to whom, an effective vaccine is a matter of life and death.  In this day, and age, information is widely available, and a lot of skeptical commentary abounds on effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Honestly, I would also be happier with a vaccine that has a higher efficiency rating. I however know, that such vaccines are not necessarily there for the asking, even if we may have the money to purchase same. So, I will believe that our government’s choice of the vaccine was based on sound judgment, having factored in all other considerations especially as to availability, and the exigencies of the moment.

I do not believe that the decision makers, our own people, would conspire to annihilate us, where they could do better.  It would have to be an evil, deliberate scheme. It is doubtable, that government would want to replace a catastrophe, with a catastrophe. The decease has affected us all, including the decision makers and their families. They have as much a personal interest in seeing the back of it, as do all other citizens. Anything else, would be treasonous.

I am not a scientist. As such I am aware that it’s a leap of faith on my part trusting government with my life. But it has never really been any different. I was born in a government hospital. I have lived this far, thanks, in part, to the public health system. That is not to say that I have been entirely content with the same. I just cannot impute upon it, bad faith. I am urging, that we should all put our hands on deck, and support our government in the envisaged vaccine campaign effort.

Elsewhere, President Biden signed an order yesterday protecting US vaccine supply chains. Vaccine producing countries are under political pressure to roll out effective programs and in so doing, to put their people first. Demand outstrips supply, by far. Their citizens are perishing.

As such, their approaches are both populistic and nationalistic, and understandably so. We may well have to do with what we can get, so long as same is not harmful. The University of Botswana only went as far as gluing together, a face shield, a feat some have achieved by simply cutting a two litre, Coca Cola bottle with a pair

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of scissors. Not a single African country has produced what at least, looks like a vaccine. COVI19, has not exposed any moral turpitude, on the part of the west, or the east. It has simply redirected our attention to the pervasive poverty, and weakness of Africa, its governments and its supposed academic and research scientists.

Already, our people are dying in large numbers. We are now north of three hundred graves, and still counting. We must slow down the death rate, if we cannot stop it completely. That is important, not only to keep our people alive, but to get them back to work and to end the pervasive terror wrought by the pandemic. The world economy will be on the recovery path soon, as markets celebrate renewed hope from the envisaged successes of vaccine roll out programs, around the world. We cannot afford, under such circumstances, to be found, still debating which vaccine is best, and chasing religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists for door to door, with a syringe. We must be fast off the blocks to recover from the economic damage, and to ride the first wave of global economic recovery.  Let us support the government in its efforts. It is not the time to vend conspiracy theories, or to fortify public skepticism. Even if the vaccine was forty percent effective, I would take it. After all, I have a range of vulnerabilities, and like so many of my countrymen and women, I am in no frame of mind, for a laisse faire approach. I support government, in its choice.

Of course, the campaign will suffer headwinds. I have heard influential preachers make prophecies about the vaccine, and encouraging people to decline it.

It will be important for government to get the clergy on board, and to find harmony on the subject. I can quite recall how the condom debate blighted the campaign, against HIV AIDS. There are populations which do not believe in modern medicine, and which will stonewall. That will not only put their children at risk, but also, the success of the effort. We have, in fact, been there before. Government has had to obtain court orders against religious groupings, in times of disease outbreaks. The church, can do better than sow seeds of skepticism, whilst not offering solutions, in moments of crisis.

I take the Minister of Health and Wellness, for his word, that there is a well-intended and thought out vaccine rollout program soon to be undertaken. I would maintain that the effort needs, and deserves, our support, to ensure its success. Let us all rise, to the occasion. The nation is perishing.



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