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Vaccination remains a personal choice, says Minister of Health

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COVID-19 vaccination

Posted: Monday, October 18, 2021. 3:27 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: After seven months, having 163 thousand persons vaccinated nationwide is an achievement in itself, according to Minister of Health Michel Chebat.

It comes despite the “loud” nature of the anti-vax population, particularly on social media; the struggles to get the vaccine here and then to distribute it; the natural skepticism of Belizeans generally.

The campaign continues daily, backed up by restrictions on access to public buildings to vaccinated or tested persons, but “it goes back to personal responsibility…short of going house to house and jabbing people against their will, it is virtually impossible; it must be the person taking the initiative, understanding the importance of the vaccine and wanting to be vaccinated,” said the Minister. It also remains Belize’s best defense against the continued spread of COVID-19.

And in his experience, Belizeans do appear to understand what we are up against and are volunteering to take the needle (never mind that it is still less than half of Belize’s population at the moment).

Of the “breakthrough” cases (20 from September 1 to present), many are elderly, with obesity, diabetes and hypertension in their medical histories, and in any event the vaccine is not a silver bullet, at least the moment. The Ministry continues to gather and share data with regional partners and is preparing a report on this issue.

And while there is no house-to-house campaign per se, he has approached his fellow area representatives, Government and Opposition, on using their machinery to reach unvaccinated constituents in Fort George, Corozal Bay and Pickstock.

And the Ministry of Health and Wellness plans a shift in the discussion to battling non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. This week is also Cancer Awareness Week.

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