'It hurts'

MANDEVILLE, Manchester – A memorial service for the 265 lives lost to COVID-19 in this parish up to last Friday was held yesterday. And while mourners absorbed that painful reality they also reflected on the damage that the novel coronavirus pandemic has unleashed on the education of the island’s children and the excruciating fact that Jamaica has had to dump well over 200,000 doses of vaccine due to hesitancy among the population.

Custos of Manchester Garfield Green, while speaking at the memorial service held at Church Teachers’ College in Mandeville, said that there have been no deaths linked to the current vaccination programme.

“I encourage you to follow the [COVID] rules and to do your bit to help yourselves and your loved ones and your country. Avoid the misinformation and be guided by the information from only the authorised source. Remember that so far we have [over 2,200] COVID-19 deaths versus zero COVID-19 vaccination deaths…Whichever way we look at the numbers, they are significant,” said Green.

Commending the Church Teachers’ College Alumni Association (CTCAA) for hosting the memorial service, Green said the pandemic is having an unparalleled influence on how we live and work.

“It has significantly restricted the way we interact socially, but more importantly to note it has taken the lives of many… I must commend the CTCAA for organising this memorial service, enabling us to honour our loved ones and to let others know we support them as they deal with the death of someone close to them due to COVID-19,” said Green.

Reverend Father Michael Rowe, addressing the learning loss and the dumping of vaccines, said both are being discarded.

“Two hundred and sixty-five lives since last count on Friday have been lost to the pandemic in Manchester and as a people it hurts. It goes deep down, because all of us have been touched by this pandemic in such a way,” he said.

“Our hearts are heavy, and so we remember, but that’s not enough. We have to respond, then we have got to reform. Fact, we just dumped or discarded 200,000 doses of vaccines. Fact, over 100,000 children are suffering learning loss. We can placate ourselves with all sorts of reasons why the 200,000 doses of vaccines can be dumped, but when we look at our children, aren’t we discarding them too, because of our irresponsible behaviour?” said Rowe.

“We are called to remember and respond. We are called to reform. Our behaviour has to change, because if we are going to honour the memory of 265 people then somehow their lives have to touch our own lives that we cannot behave the same way. We have to recognise that our behaviour has to bring new life into these circumstances,” said Rowe.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that up to Monday 2,246 lives were lost to COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Jamaica since the first case was reported last year March stood at 643,276 up to Monday, while 58,267 people have so far recovered from the virus.

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