THE long lines seen at covid19 vaccination sites seen earlier this week, a sign of a spike in interest, reversed weeks of flagging demand, and suggested the coming implementation of “safe zones” might, with luck, accelerate the long trek to herd immunity.
On Monday, hundreds rushed to the Hasely Crawford Stadium drive-through, the Paddock at the Queen’s Park Savannah and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, days after the Prime Minister effectively announced only fully vaccinated people would have access to certain public spaces.
Additionally, only vaccinated students will be granted access to in-person learning, though teachers have been granted discretion as to whether they take the jab.
The confirmation of community spread of the dreaded delta variant – which in many countries has already spread like wildfire, overwhelming hospital capacity, and killing more and more people at a brutal rate – has added even more incentive to those who have until now been sitting on the fence.
On Monday, unfortunately, some people were turned off. Many complained about having to wait so long in line, especially given that these facilities have been in operation for months now, vaccines are in ample supply, and by now should be operations should be smooth.
The State, having announced its new measures and confirmed delta, had a duty to anticipate a rush or, at the very least, maintain a speedy process that would not deter those who showed up, some of whom were coming for what was to be the first of two shot of a double-dose vaccine.
Will the numbers continue to vacillate ahead of October 11? It is possible that, when the reality hits home that many people will not be able to access in-house dining venues, casinos and gyms, even more will take advantage of the State’s menu of vaccination sites and options.
But if this is so, the delta variant now means TT is playing a dangerous game of wait-and-see.
It is a matter of deep concern that community spread has already been confirmed at a time when less than half the population is fully vaccinated. Indeed, it is sadly likely that the old adage “Those who do not hear will feel” will come to pass.
It was a spike in deaths which, earlier this year, precipitated a rush to get vaccines; it is increasingly apparent that, absent mandatory shots, it will take yet another spike in deaths – among unvaccinated people – to bring home the reality of covid19 to the remaining doubting Thomases.
The consequences will be dire. Much worse is yet to come.
“Safe zones” may be almost here, but, the country having crossed the threshold of 50,000 covid19 cases this month, no one should feel safe.