By Nawara Fattahova

I was wrong. The one-year period of vaccinations against COVID-19 proved that vaccination is the only way to combat the pandemic. The high percentage of vaccination in the GCC countries, which exceeded 90 percent, was behind the sharp drop in coronavirus cases.

In Kuwait, the number of cases has dropped to less than 20 people per day, and there have been no deaths for most days since last October, when the vaccination rate exceeded 80%. The numbers have been visibly dropping since August, when almost 70 percent of people were vaccinated. On October 20, 2021, we finally entered the fifth phase of getting back to normal life.

On the other hand, Europe is again facing a high number of COVID-19 cases daily. Some countries (Austria, Russia, and others) even registered a record number of cases – just like at the beginning of the pandemic last year. According to their health officials, this is mainly due to the low vaccination rate as many people are refusing to take the vaccine. These countries have started imposing the lockdowns again.

Even with the clear results, many people still don’t want to be vaccinated. The procedure the Kuwait authorities imposed at the beginning of this summer – banning the non-vaccinated from travelling and even entering malls and other public places – is a model for many other countries, including Austria.

When the vaccination process started last December, I was one of the opponents of the vaccination drive. At that time, I believed that the period of time during which the tests were conducted on the vaccine was very short. I thought that a few months of examinations would not be enough to know the side effects of the vaccine. I know that my natural immunity is very high, and I rarely get sick – so why will I inject strange substances into my body?

For the first four or five months, I didn’t register. I only registered after they announced that only vaccinated people would be allowed to travel. I also felt somehow safe after I saw millions across the globe getting vaccinated – and even in Kuwait, the number exceeded 1 million at that time.

I can’t understand why people still reject the COVID vaccine after this long period, even when over 50 percent of the world population has been vaccinated. Some people still believe in the conspiracy theory, while others spread rumors about doctors, claiming that the vaccine is harmful and could cause death after a few years. How can anybody believe this?

Unfortunately, one of my friends is still refusing to get vaccinated. She said it doesn’t bother her even if she doesn’t travel or go to restaurants, theaters, or shopping malls. We also see a small group of people gathering at Iradah Square (once in a while) to protest against getting vaccinated. I wonder how long they can resist the jab and return to their usual life activities, especially travelling.

nawara@kuwaittimes.net