Yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago reached another grim milestone of 1,300 deaths from the COVID-19 virus. It is true that we have met many grim milestones over the last 16 months, but each time we stop to take note of it because every life lost to COVID leaves a void in the heart of someone who has lost a dear family member, a friend, a relative or even a neighbour.
As a country, we have suffered much because of COVID-19, as lives are cut short and the economy is hammered from the fallout of the virus amidst relatively low vaccination rates.
This is why we must also be encouraged by the other milestone reached yesterday, of 400,054 people who have taken their second shot and are either fully vaccinated or will get to that point in 14 days.
Vaccinations are the only way that we have to save lives and to emerge from this untenable way of living in constant curfews, lockdowns, inability to gather at places of worship, to greet each other as we would like, return to the gyms, to bars, parties and even carnival.
Too much remains at stake and listening to rumours, being misled by the many non-experts on social media, not to mention the conspiracy theorists, serves no purpose.
We remain in support of the Government and its vaccination programme and commend the administration on its successful diplomatic and commercial efforts to procure the vaccines to the point where no one in this country who qualifies to take the vaccine ought not to have any difficulty in saving themselves or their families.
The latest report by the Central Bank of T&T on the state of the economy has pointed to the hope of a rebound in our economic fortunes if there is further opening up of the economy due to increased rates of vaccinations.
This means our livelihoods and the economic possibilities for all of us lie in our arms and us taking the jab.
There are other hopeful signs that the economy could recover once we are able to get past this pandemic.
Still, even as the Ministry of Health rolled out yet another vaccine option in communities yesterday, in the Johnson and Johnson single-dose jabs, there remained citizens who spoke to hesitancy amongst their family members. The good thing about their conversations via the media is that these individuals can now become champions of the inoculation process, having accessed the life-saving jabs and now being able to go through the post-jab process, convince others of their efficacy and, more importantly, debunk some of the misinformation myths circulating.
Having said that, 400,000-plus citizens fully vaccinated is still far off from the herd immunity figure Government is trying to achieve. For now, however, we hope it is a sign of better to come.