#TurksandCaicos, April 2, 2021 – Mr. Speaker, I can proudly stand here and say that I am fully vaccinated and I want to put it on record my gratitude to all those that have made the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine so readily available on our shores and who have been working tirelessly in its distribution.
Today I want to tell a short story.
I was recently a fly on the wall as I listened to my wife explain to my daughter, Maya what it will take for us to get back to “normal” in the TCI. She put the idea of 80% of the population being vaccinated into practical terms and highlighted that as a mother there are a lot of fears that she doesn’t have to take on that parents in the early 20th century or even as recently as 40 years ago had to take on.
One hundred years ago prior to MMR vaccines i.e. (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) there were millions of deaths of children yearly, and in 1918 about 5% of the world’s population was killed due to the Spanish flu Pandemic. We don’t have to worry about diseases like Polio because our children are vaccinated and in the rare occasion when they are not, the majority of the population has been vaccinated, which keeps them safe.
Just for a bit of context Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that the majority of us in this chamber and throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands have had the MMR, Polio and other vaccines during our childhood. We all can recall vaccination day at our schools where nurses would come in from the hospital to give us our shot and we all have the little scar on our shoulders to prove it.
Mr. Speaker, We have been kept safe from many diseases because our parents and our grandparents did what they needed to do. Although this strain of COVID-19 is new, vaccinations are not.
Research on flu vaccines were being conducted before COVID hit and its rapid engineering was made possible because the world came to a standstill. There has never been the amount of resources devoted to any other vaccine development in such a short period of time ever, and that’s why we have the vaccine.
The WHO tells us that next to clean water, nothing has a bigger impact on saving lives than vaccines. Vaccines use our body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and make our immune system stronger.
So Turks and Caicos Islanders and all that call these beautiful by nature islands their home, please get vaccinated.
I am overjoyed to be part of the government that brought such joys with a stimulus, but know that the only way we can really and truly stimulate our economy, get our kids back to regular learning full-time, live freely is by getting our population vaccinated.
Mr. Speaker, waiting and seeing will not get us there. Waiting and seeing will delay progress and put not only ourselves at risk, but all those we love and care about so deeply.
Thank you Mr. Speaker