Benjamin Franklin in 1736 coined the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. One would think that it had something to do with health – why the American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat made that famous comment – but he was actually speaking to firefighters in, at the time, fire-threatened Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 

Franklin was trying to inspire firefighters to seek out areas and things that could easily catch fire, and make them less incendiary. Preventing a fire is better than trying to put it out.

What Franklin said 285 years ago can be equated to what Prime Minister Harris and Premier Brantley have been telling Kittitians and Nevisians for a year now. Get vaccinated, the life you save might be your own.

Studies show that vaccinated persons who are exposed to the coronavirus have a greater chance of surviving than unvaccinated people.

As of yesterday, at least one person has died from COVID-19 in St. Kitts and Nevis. We hope that this would be the only one, but are not overly hopeful because of the way people in St. Kitts And Nevis live, in multigenerational lodgings. In many homes up to four or five generations board .

In many cases, grandparents and great grandparents seldom leave home. Children and grandchildren care for their elderly parents at home. So the extent that COVID-19 has been taken home to the elderly is yet unknown.

The full extent of the community spread is also unknown. Sadly, more loved ones could be lost.

The people of the Federation have been begged for months to take the vaccine, in an effort to get St. Kitts and Nevis to reach herd immunity; prevent super spreaders as much as possible, and allow the country to return to normalcy as quickly as possible.

The same thing that our leaders encouraged us to avoid has happened. Hundreds of residents are now infected with COVID-19, and not even half of the country have been vaccinated. Vaccines are available and are free, yet many have scoff at them.

Life was slowly returning to normal. A cruise ship was on its way, but had to be cancelled. Only about 11,000 out of more than 50,000 persons in St. Kitts and Nevis have been fully vaccinated. Things appear to be bleak right now, and this situation could have been avoided. 

There is a major problem in our country; even persons who cannot read or write know more than the doctors and scientists. They give absurd reasons why they won’t get vaccinated, and also encourage others not to vaccinate.

Educated persons are also doing the same. Politicians are encouraging constituents and others not to vaccinate. They do so both by omission and by commission.

The picture in St. Kitts and Nevis could have been vastly different, if only good sense prevailed and the population heeded the advice to vaccinate. That ounce of prevention would have literally been worth more than hundreds of cures.