Opinion: ‘We encourage getting a vaccination’

Councillor Shaz Nawaz, Labour group leader on Peterborough City Council, writes...

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 3:15 pm
Covid vaccination.

It is rare that I agree with our local MP, Paul Bristow. However, I concur with him on two major points: one, the vaccination rate in Peterborough is far too low. Second, we should get as many people vaccinated as possible.

The vaccines are as close to a miracle as one gets in today’s world: less than a year after the coronavirus emerged, they were in production.

In contrast, it took Jonas Salk three years just to trial the first effective polio vaccine.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The vaccines have largely proven to be safe and effective.

While no vaccine is an absolute guarantee of continued health, certainly we see their benefits in the much lower numbers of deaths in recent months. We should thank our lucky stars that we live in such a time that technology can liberate us from a crippling pandemic so quickly.

We should also take a good hard look at countries which have a significant segment of the population that refuses to get vaccinated. The United States, for example, has a hard-core minority which simply refuses to get the jab. This, combined with the emergence of the Delta variant, has meant cases in America are rising. As of August 8, there was a 112 per cent increase on the 14-day measurement of new coronavirus cases. Deaths also increased by 92 per cent over the same period.

Why? The vaccines are available; there is no shortage. The reasons are straightforward: there is a toxic brew of misinformation and political identity which has taken hold in certain segments of the population. This segment believes that the coronavirus is a lie, that masks are not required, and vaccines are a threat to liberty.

There is an echo to this sentiment on this side of the Atlantic. However, the virus doesn’t care about one’s political persuasion. It doesn’t discern between genders, nor races. It merely replicates and often kills.

Refusing to be vaccinated has all the logic of refusing to stand out of the way of an oncoming train: one may not believe in the train, one can proclaim it loudly, but it will impact regardless.

There is another element: if the virus cannot replicate, it cannot evolve into new variants. The more vaccinated individuals we have, the less possibility it has to replicate.

Thus, people who refuse to get vaccinated not only threaten harm to themselves, they may bring about disaster for others.

It is entirely possible if there is an unchecked spread of the virus that it may mutate into forms which can resist the vaccines. Then we will be back at square one and quite possibly return to a situation in which lockdowns are required.

This helps no one: not our society, not our economy, not our children. It should be a matter of civic duty, a phrase which seems lost in the mists of time, that we are all vaccinated. This is not a matter of state compulsion, but public duty and self-interest.

I sincerely hope that all political parties can come together on this: Peterborough is still one of the laggards for vaccination, and this must be addressed in a timely way.

The Labour group supports vaccination, and we encourage everyone in our city to get the jab.