As we come to the close of another year, the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) offers well wishes to all for the coming year.
This year, 2021 has also been an extremely difficult one for doctors, nurses, and all healthcare professionals. We have faced both the praise and the understandable frustration of a public negotiating many sources of information and misinformation about COVID-19. This disease has taken its toll on us as well as on the public, with whom we sympathize but to whom we must also appeal.
The new omicron variant of COVID-19 passes readily between individuals, causing hospitalizations and deaths, mainly among the unvaccinated and breakthrough infections in persons vaccinated more than six months ago.
The reality is that Barbados has an elderly population, a large proportion of us have at least one non-communicable disease and just under half (47%) of our population remains unvaccinated. Omicron has been shown to infect more young people and although the course may be milder in them, the potential for young people to spread COVID-19 to those vulnerable for severe disease is great and this has implications for older members of Barbadian multi-generational households.
We appeal to Barbadians to again exercise good judgment and to take precautions to protect your health and the health of your loved ones. Vaccination (two doses and a booster if your second dose was more than six months ago) has been shown to be effective against preventing hospitalizations and deaths from all of the variants of COVID-19. We continue to encourage all eligible Barbadians and residents to be vaccinated appropriately and particularly all of our frontline heroes.
Our observations indicate that proven public health measures such as social distancing, frequent sanitization and mask wearing continue to be ignored by some. We are therefore concerned and suggest extreme caution in mass gatherings of people that disregard these proven preventative measures and resist the monitoring of them. In addition, we recommend that if persons are attending or taking part in any large social event, it must be held outdoors, and all participants should be tested with a Ministry of Health & Wellness approved rapid antigen test immediately prior to the event and the results reported to the Ministry of Health & Wellness.
We must act as if omicron is here and we appeal to you, to exercise judgment and to consider the wisdom of gathering in large numbers with those not in your immediate family circle.
We understand the universal desire for close social interaction, we feel it also, but we must all ask ourselves is the need for gathering worth the risk to my life and health, or that of my relative, neighbor, co-worker or friend?
Act based on knowledge and take all necessary precautions to mitigate potential negative effects. We wish you and your families a safe, prosperous, and healthy 2022.
Audio Clip of Statement available below
Dr. Adanna Grandison
1st Vice-President/ President (ag)
For BAMP COVID-19 Task Force