Nadine Wilson-Harris/Staff Reporter | Jamaica Gleaner |
A down payment has already been made for Jamaica to access the coronavirus vaccine for a sliver of the population once it becomes available, but failure to immunise a significant number of nationals is unlikely to eliminate COVID-19 in the north Caribbean island, an expert on viruses has said.
Referencing the growing anti-vaccination lobby in Jamaican and across the world, associate professor of microbiology at the University of Massachusetts, Dr Wilmore Webley, has argued that mass takeup was crucial to achieving herd immunity and stemming the pandemic’s deadly march.
His warning is a grim caution amid rising optimism after Pfizer, a United States-based pharmaceutical company, revealed that it has developed a coronavirus vaccine with 90 per cent effectiveness.
“If you have a lot of people in your community who are immune to a certain infection … it makes it harder for even the few people who are not immunised to get infected,” he said on Thursday during a webinar exploring the ‘Status of Vaccine Development for COVID-19 as part of Northern Caribbean University’s Homecoming Week celebrations.