Coronavirus: “The benefits of the vaccine are poorly explained”, says the deputy for Martinique

While the vaccination rate is low in the West Indies, Martinican deputy Jean-Philippe Nilor explains the local skepticism, including his own.

The intervention of  Christiane Taubira this Thursday on RTL  caused a lot of reaction. By refusing to call on Guyanese to be vaccinated , she drew the wrath of many elected officials. Jean-Philippe Nilor, deputy of the Democratic and Republican left of Martinique, nevertheless understands the former Minister of Justice. 

“I am neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine. I am opposed, like many of my compatriots, to compulsory vaccination, ” he said on Friday on RTL. While only 30% of Martinicans are vaccinated against the Covid, the deputy denounced “the injunction to the injection” and deplored a “catastrophic communication in the territories”. ” The benefits of the vaccine are very poorly explained . It prevents serious forms but for how long?” Asked Jean-Philippe Nilor. 

Himself unvaccinated, he especially wanted to underline “the lack of resources in our hospitals which do not resemble hospitals in a country which claims to be developed “. In recent months, the situation of hospitals in overseas territories is worrying. For example, one hundred tons of oxygen had been sent urgently to the West Indies in August . “Far too late”, for Jean-Philippe Nilor, “today, we pay him cash”. 

COVID-19 affected almost all countries and more than 50 million people around the world. It has governments operating in a context of radical uncertainty, and faced with difficult trade-offs given the health, economic and social challenges it raises. By spring 2020, more than half of the world’s population had experienced a lockdown with strong containment measures. Beyond the health and human tragedy of the coronavirus, it is now widely recognised that the pandemic triggered the most serious economic crisis since World War II. 

Many economies will not recover their 2019 output levels until 2022 at the earliest (OECD, 2020[1]). A rebound of the epidemic in autumn 2020 is increasing the uncertainty. The nature of the crisis is unprecedented: beyond the short-term repeated health and economic shocks, the long-term effects on human capital, productivity and behaviour may be long-lasting. The COVID crisis has massively accelerated some pre-existing trends, in particular digitalisation. It has shaken the world, setting in motion waves of change with a wide range of possible trajectories.

This paper highlights the strong territorial dimension of the COVID-19 crisis. Subnational governments – regions and municipalities – are at the frontline of the crisis management and recovery, and confronted by COVID-19’s asymmetric health, economic, social and fiscal impact – within countries but also among regions and local areas. For example, the health of populations in some regions is more affected than in others. Large urban areas have been hard hit, but within them deprived areas are more strongly affected than less deprived ones. Over the past few months, the health impact has spread towards less populated regions in some countries. In the United States for instance, the highest increase in the number of deaths occurring in October were in the rural counties not adjacent to a metropolitan areas. The various risks vary greatly depending on where one lives. This regionally differentiated impact calls for a territorial approach to policy responses on the health, economic, social, fiscal fronts, and for very strong inter-governmental coordination.

The COVID-19 crisis has governments around the world operating in a context of radical uncertainty, and faced with difficult trade-offs given the health, economic and social challenges it raises. Within the first three months of 2020, the novel coronavirus developed into a global pandemic. Schools and universities were closed in spring 2020 for more than one billion students of all ages. By November 2020, COVID-19 spread to almost all countries and affected more than 50 million people around the world, resulting in more than 1.25 million deaths. More than half of the world’s population has experienced a lockdown with strong containment measures – the first time in history that such measures are applied on such a large scale.

Estimates released by the OECD in September 2020 indicate that real global GDP is projected to decline by 4.5% in 2020 before picking up by 5% in 2021. OECD unemployment is projected to rise to 9.4% in Q4 2020 from 5.4% in 2019. The projections assume that sporadic local outbreaks of the virus will continue, with these being addressed by targeted local interventions rather than national lockdowns; wide availability of a vaccination is not expected until late in 2021.

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