While the Ministry is continuing its national push for Belizeans to get the COVID-19 jab, proponents against the vaccine are continuing with their campaign. On Saturday, Chandan Makhijani (ma-ki-ja-ni) was promoting an event in Orange Walk Town. Called “World Wide Demonstration Day”, the activities, according to organizers, were to promote the freedoms of speech, choice, movement, assembly, and health. However, the planned demonstration was upstaged by Makhijani’s arrest by police. One of the attendees told our Orange Walk correspondent Victor Castillo about the event and the arrest.
“It wasn’t a demonstration for anti vaxxers it was a demonstration for concerned citizens that want people to have transparent information about what they’re getting involved with as far as an experimental MRNA treatment. So it’s really important that people know exactly what is involved with the treatment, what the purpose of it is for and as well as the PCR test. So really it was a gathering just to release information. So anybody that chooses to make an informed decision to get what they’re calling a vaccine does so with all the information available to them and unfortunately that information is not readily available and we are not sure why so we want to make sure that people understand what is involved, what is entailed with getting this, why are they getting it, making sure they have all the information, understanding that it is a phase 2 and 3 clinical trial that doesn’t end until 2023. So that being said I mean everybody is really a test subject in this so it’s really important. I have a clinical research background and that’s why I wanted to attend this to make sure people understand that this is in a clinical trial phase, it has not been approved for use other than for emergency purposes but that doesn’t take away the importance of safety and efficacy and what we’re seeing right now is a large number of people that are complaining about side effects which are just effects from a treatment that probably isn’t the right treatment for them could it be because they’re just test subjects we don’t know that. So we want to make sure people are well informed, they know what the risks are that we know up to date, they know if it’s going to protect them from COVID. So unfortunately we got to the gathering a little bit late and then it was made clear to us that Mr.Chandan was arrested at that time. We’re not sure for what exactly. So we would love to find out just as much as anybody else because I don’t understand why he would be arrested.
Love News was informed that Makhijani did receive station bail but police tried to enforce the mask mandate – and Makhijani refused to wear one and so his detention was prolonged. Also in Belize City, a demonstration was held by the Belize Rights and Justice Movement, which had a handful of supporters were out with placards. Comments on social media, while the event was live-streamed, were also noticeable, suggesting that this message is gaining some traction. On the other hand, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has taken another approach to *its* information campaign to encourage Belizeans to get the jab. In a short video released over the weekend, the Ministry spoke to the family of Fred Ayuso, who died from complications attributed to the coronavirus. In the same video, Minister Michel Chebat called the anti-vax stance a dangerous thing.
“Last month my father passed away due to COVID19. My father was not vaccinated, he was not. To be truthful the things he would have said would be the things that we’re hearing around town but there were also some of the other myths that really I was trying to tell him ‘No daddy, you need to get your vaccine.’ but I couldn’t convince him in time.”
Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “I think what they’re doing is a disservice to this country. In my mind what they’re doing is creating fear among people when they should be spreading a message of hope. What I hear them say has no basis, no scientific basis for the assertions they’re making and more than anything else there’s no legal basis for their assertion.”
“Would he have gotten that vaccine he would still be here cracking his jokes and being his fun crazy self and we really miss him.”
The Ministry continues to encourage everyone to get the jab and at the same time continue to wash our hands, watch our distance and wear our masks.