Forum: Help seniors overcome vaccine hesitancy, don't see them as stumbling block

It is unfortunate that Straits Times senior health correspondent Salma Khalik has used terms such as "recalcitrant", "stubborn" and "refusing to protect themselves" to describe unvaccinated senior citizens (Nuanced approach to rising infections better than blanket curbs, July 25).

This is a one-sided way of looking at the issue of why vaccine hesitancy is so high among the oldest age group.

We must accept that this pandemic is unprecedented in human history. Even expert opinion can differ, and it may be difficult to have a consistent, rational approach to the issue.

I can relate from my experience how hesitancy can come about. As someone who has worked in the healthcare industry for more than three decades, I was gung-ho about getting vaccinated the moment I was eligible.

Yet, after various disconcerting events were reported, typically as a reaction to the vaccination, amplified by social media, I did develop cold feet for a while, till I finally rationalised the whole situation and took the plunge.

I know it can be difficult for senior citizens to sift through the myths and disinformation.

What is most needed now is a lot more education, conducted in a spirit of openness and transparency, to help our seniors understand the benefits of vaccination.

We should be helping them, instead of looking at them as a stumbling block in the nation's plans to return to as near to normalcy as possible.

This is the least we owe them.

I hope voluntary organisations can take the lead in this without leaving everything to the Government, which has its hands full dealing with the pandemic.

Raju M. Iyer

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