Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Health is concerned over conspiracy theories about COVID-19, and the proliferation of information about the virus from sources local officials say are unreliable.
National Epidemiologist Dr. Michelle Francois echoed those concerns Tuesday when she appeared on the HTS programme ‘Out Goes In’ with Andre Paul and Stanley Lucien.
“There’s a lot going around on social media coming from overnight experts and persons not understanding that when you are trying to get information about something so critical you have to look at the source of that information and so you don’t just go online and look for any study or any information,” Francois explained.
In this regard, she observed that there are reputable sites, including those belonging to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Francois asserted that people could get the information and evidence they need from those sources, including access to relevant studies to make an informed decision.
But the National Epidemiologist lamented that some people do not trust those sources, although throughout history, those sources have been the ones looked to, and they have not ‘let us down to date.’
“So you try to understand why all of a sudden – why persons would not want to trust these same sources that have introduced all our childhood vaccines, that have guided us through other pandemics and we have relied on them? They have been our support throughout the years providing technical assistance and guiding us and holding our hands no matter what we have been faced with within the region and outside of the region,” Francois recalled.
“It’s amazing to think that out of the blue everybody is saying that there’s this big conspiracy and the whole world is part of this conspiracy. But stop to think – why would the world be part of this conspiracy?”
Francois also questioned why suddenly the formerly reliable sources would now be steering people in the wrong direction.
” It is very interesting, and I would like to hear the answer to that,” she declared.
The National Epidemiologist spoke against the backdrop of the recent announcement that Saint Lucia had reached the 20% target of fully vaccinated persons as of Monday, 11 October 2021. However, the ‘desired’ goal is 70 percent population immunity.
As a result, health officials have been urging people to get vaccinated and say they are trying to get to the root of the ‘challenge’ of vaccine hesitancy to address it.
Headline photo: Internet stock image