Yesterday, the President of the board of the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation, who is currently on Anguilla, received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Michel Soons: ‘’Even though 2000 people already signed up, I could get the vaccine almost right away. I was also one of the first to receive one, as they started the campaign yesterday".

It was organized especially well, and everything went very smoothly. Within 20 minutes I was out the door again feeling completely fine. No side effects whatsoever so went for a walk on the beach.

I’m happy that I got the opportunity to take the vaccine because I am worried about the consequences of the Covid-19 virus to my lungs, heart, and brain. Secondly, I also did it for the rest of my family, but also the economy and the island in general.’’

Michel Soons is a project developer, and has been with the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation since 1993, and has been the President of the Board since 2006.

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Our 5th Covid-19 Vaccine Interview is with no-one less than 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐥 𝐆𝐮𝐦𝐛𝐬!

𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐬 𝐚 𝐛𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟? My name is Marcel Gumbs. I was born in Curacao and I moved back here when I was six and I've lived here all my life. I've been involved in public service in the noble profession of politics for some 23 years, and I have also been working at the airport as traffic controller for 14 years. I am a member of the Steering Committee of the Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, and in my free time, I like to really socialize. I'm also a member of an eating club: ‘’La Chaine des Rotisseurs’’, where we meet every six weeks under normal circumstances.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃 𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞? It has affected me in the sense that it makes me much, much more conscious of my environment. I’m used to social activities, and so that has changed. It also has brought me to the realization that I have to pay, and we all have to pay more attention to our health and immune systems. Because I've learned very early on that, the stronger your immune system, the fewer chances you have of the virus affecting you.

It required quite some adaptation, which is not always easy and it’s still not really the same. Of course, we all miss that touch, that feels, that hug. I think with the boops and the elbows, you just got to close your eyes and imagine that it's a hug and a squeeze. The fact that we’re not able to travel and get off the Island is though. Most of you, know it very well: ‘’You get Island fever’’.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐨 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐥? The best way to go back to normal is for us to do what must be done. Wear a mask, wash your hands, sanitize, it keeps social distance because that has proven to reduce the numbers, not only here but all over the world.

Now that the vaccine being available, I think that is definitely one of the things we'll have to do in order to get back to normal as soon as possible. But we also have to be realistic too and work together with the French side, because the virus doesn’t stop by the border, and asks permission to cross.

Because our business is tourism, it has to get back to normal as quickly as possible. But fasten your seatbelt, because it’s going to take a while before we see cruise ships and flights coming back fully loaded, unfortunately. Because these are the people from the middle class, and that group is broke at this moment. So, it's likely going to take a year or two for them to get back us and get things back to normal.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐞?

I will be taking the vaccine the minute it is available. My reason for taking the vaccine is because it is scientifically proven, and we must have confidence in the science. Imagine what the world would be If we did not have confidence in science. We would not have cell phones, planes, or the internet.

Imagine that when you were a child and your parents were asked if they were going to vaccine you for a chickenpox vaccine, and they said, no, no, no, no vaccine. Well, you would get chickenpox and you would die. So, your parents said yes, go ahead and get the vaccine, because it is something that saves lives. And I see no reason why the vaccine for the COVID-19 would not save lives.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐞? Do not follow the negative narratives that are out there. This has become so easy to put out something negative now with social media, whether it's WhatsApp, Instagram, or Twitter.

Do not be doubtful because when you were a kid, your parents agreed and followed instructions and you got the vaccine, not only for the chickenpox but for polio and for everything. So why not take the vaccine now? And by not taking it, you're hurting those loved ones around you. So I would encourage everyone to go and take the vaccine because that's the way to go and for us to get back to normal, as soon as possible.

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The next Covid-19 Vaccine Interview is with Radio Personality 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐚𝐊𝐢𝐝 from the SuppaDuppa Morning show on Laser 101! 𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐬 𝐚 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟? My name is Kevin Petrona, also known as Suppa from the Suppa Duppa Morning show on Laser 101 FM. I am also an entertainer and host for parties and large events on the island. During my spare time, I love watching sports, watching series, reading, and graphic designing.

𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝-𝟏𝟗 𝐏𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞? The pandemic at first didn’t affect me as I was part of the essential group. I would have to go on air daily and give updates on COVID-19 and other information that the government dispersed. When it came to hosting events and parties, that definitely took a big dip as most clubs were on lockdown and events postponed. Especially not knowing how the virus would affect the economy, I had to mentally deal with this prospect of financial insecurity. Socially it was ok on me as most of the time I enjoy being alone at home and relaxing. So being on lockdown or quarantine was more of a blessing than a punishment. lol

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬, 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧? For us to get back to normal, especially on the island is to become more responsible when sharing information. We now should have a better understanding of the virus, and the facts are out there, however, we tend to get too caught up in sensational news and headlines without ensuring that the news comes from a credible source. These days with social media, people just post links to websites that have no credibility, and everyone thinks they are an expert. We need to stop the fear-mongering and spreading of wrong information and conspiracies. We need to also educate ourselves especially when it comes to the virus and now, the vaccine. Too many times we see when persons take one outrageous story about the Covid-19 virus and use it to fit their agenda or to spread fear amongst the community. This is a dangerous precedent to set, and we as the media need to keep flooding the population with the RIGHT information to overcome that. Sadly, people are more entertained by lies, instead of the truth.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐯𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞? My reason for taking the vaccine is to help move the country forward, faster. We need to get back to some sort of normalcy to help stabilize our economy that relies so much on the outside world. The unemployment level in St. Maarten is rapidly growing, and we see the anxiety and uncertainty of people in the community rising every day. By taking the vaccine I hope to encourage more persons to follow my lead. It’s beneficial to them, their friends and family, and also to the economy. We don’t want to be left behind and play catch up when the rest of the world is already moving forward. Let’s all get on board now to avoid any more serious consequences.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐞? Do your own research. There is a lot of expert information out there that supports the vaccine. The virus was and still is a scary thing, and, understandably, many are doubtful now about the vaccine. But we must trust in science. Think about those around you that are vulnerable. By getting vaccinated not only do YOU protect them, but you’re also protecting yourself. We are a very social society, and for us to reopen properly, we need to be open to accurate information out there and the vaccine. At the end of the day, everyone’s choice should be respected, but remember they also need to remember that they have a personal responsibility.

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