In recent weeks, we’ve reported on the growing number of Belizeans who are saying they not quite comfortable about taking the vaccine. One of them is land rights activist Nigel Petillo. Petillo, a Rastafarian, says that he has never been vaccinated for anything and is not sure how the COVID-19 jab will affect his body. News Editor, Dale McDougall spoke to him today about the position he’s taken.
Nigel Petillo, Land Activist: “I need ot make it clear from the get go I am not against the vaccine and I have no issue with anybody taking the vaccine however I don’t have enough knowledge and I am not somebody who from the onset have really been that type to run to the hospital for every little thing or take a pill for every little thing. I know some people who have a table full of pills they take about seven, eight, ten pills for the day so I am just not that type of individual. I have been drinking my herbs from ever since. I have my little herb that I take occasionally from time to time and I am practically strong I don’t have no lot of issues. So I am kind of concerned that if I were to take this vaccine my natural immune system is confident as far sa I’m concerned. If I get a little flu that does its three, four days and goes. I am kinda concerned now that putting this alien substance in my body or this new substance in my body my body might have a different reaction. I am not against the vaccine but I’m not really sure, I don’t feel safe. I don’t know if I should introduce that to my body that is 100% functioning. We tend to say if it’s not broken don’t fix it so I’m kinda scared Dale. Yes I am actually afraid because I don’t know how my body will personally react to it just like I am not sure how your body would react to it. A lot of us are still not sure yet so again I am not against the vaccine but I am just trying to be very careful here, as careful as possible and again I’m having this discussion with my wife. I have kids, we’re concerned about their health to. My wife is for the vaccine by the way, I am not going to stop her or my kids from getting the vaccine but we definitely will discuss more and try to get more information on it.”
When asked about the cadence of Statutory Instrument seventy-four, which tells frontline works to get the jab or get tested fortnightly after August one, Petillo says it feels as if government is trampling on basic rights.
Nigel Petillo, Land Activist: “You’re going against people’s constitutional rights there now, the freedom to choose how they want to deal with their body. Not only that, do you guys know that none of those companies world wide that are making the vaccines would want to take up the risk of being able to insure against the vaccine ? No insurance policy, nothing against that vaccine. If something happens to you right now off that vaccine, if you get crippled or you die or something happens it’s on you; nobody will take care of your expenses, nobody will take the blame for that so we need to discuss both sides. We need to be able to say what is good about the vaccine and what are the risks of the vaccine.”
Later in the news, we will hear from three union leaders on their positions related to the vaccine.