The evidence is clear. Covid-19 vaccinations save lives, and they probably could have prevented most, if not all, of the tragic deaths from the disease the territory has seen so far this month.
We therefore were heartened to see the success of the drive-through vaccination operations at the Festival Village Grounds and other locations in recent days.
Meanwhile, Virgin Islands leaders, doctors, nurses and other community members have been continuing to publicly explain the safety benefits of the vaccine. They should keep it up.
Following the recent Covid-19 deaths, the territory is in mourning. The victims have ranged in age from mid 30s to senior citizens. They include grandmothers; members of the same family; well-known business owners; a police officer; and other pillars of the community.
But they all had something in common: They were unvaccinated.
This, however, is not surprising. Countries the world over are seeing the same trend, and doctors say that the AstraZeneca vaccine available for free here lowers the risk of contracting Covid-19 by up to 90 percent and nearly eliminates the risk of severe symptoms and death from the disease.
Around the globe, communities that are mostly unvaccinated are experiencing new outbreaks from the delta variant and other strains of Covid-19. But communities with high percentages of vaccinated residents are emerging unscathed and returning to business as usual.
In other words, the vaccines work, and they work well.
Of course, anyone who is unsure about getting the shot should consult a trusted doctor (or two or three). But once a doctor recommends the vaccine, we would hope most people would give much more weight to that professional advice than to memes or other social media posts from the many non-experts who have been spreading misinformation at an alarming rate.
It can be easy to click “share” without a thought. But now is not the time for such careless behaviour. Lives are at stake.
Currently, around half the VI population has received the first dose of the vaccine, and about one third is fully vaccinated.
But health officials say that some 80 percent may need to come on board to ensure the full protection the territory needs for a return to normality.
The drive-through operation over the weekend was a good start. But there is still a long way to go.