Shame, Scandal and Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the Caribbean

Understanding How Culture Impacts Vaccine Hesitancy and Why We Need Scientific Research

We need to treat vaccine hesitance in the Caribbean with humility and understanding, rather than with arrogance and superiority.

I am not a medical doctor. I cannot hope to understand the full list of reasons why people refuse to get vaccinated. One would think that in regions like the Caribbean, citizens would be flocking to get Covid-19 vaccine, the full menu of which is now widely available. But this is not the case. Perhaps as much as half of the population is still vaccine hesitant. Why is this?

Why Scientifically Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy is Key

We need to treat the issue of Covid-19 hesitancy with SCIENCE.  In addition to devoting resources into convincing persons to take the vaccine, or forcing them to take it (by limiting freedoms and economic opportunities), we should also launch some SCIENTIFIC research into deeply understanding WHY there is vaccine hesitancy in the first place.  It would be interesting to find out:

– What are the ages of those that are vaccine-hesitant;

– are they mainly male or female;

– do they live in the town or the country/rural areas;

– what are their religious beliefs (e.g. Christianity, Baptist, Obeah);

– what is their level of education (literacy rate; primary, secondary, tertiary);

– what is their profession (labourer, lawyer, nurse, etc)

– are they employees or business owners;

– do they work in the public or in private sector;

– in what sectors are they active (e.g. agriculture, manufacturing, services,  creative industries); what is their diet (how many portions of fresh fruit and vegetables consumed daily);

– do they have health conditions;

– do they believe that they may have pre-existing health conditions;

– what is their main source of information (newspaper, neighbour, Facebook, Instagram, TickTok);

– what is their personal reason for not taking the vaccine;

– what is their family situation (married, separated, living together, single parent);

– what is the size of the family unit (how many persons live in the household)?

covid vaccine

Covid-19 is a Challenge, But it is Also a Great Opportunity

This type of SCIENTIFIC research may reveal more than just vaccine hesitancy; it may just explain why we are not developing in the first place; and why all of the money in the world will not help us.  Because if we do not believe in ourselves; if we do not love who we are and where we came from; if we cannot accept the consequences of the choices that WE make; and if we continue to believe that ‘somebody put something on us’; or ‘somebody do something to us’, we will be going nowhere in a hurry.


Covid-19 is a challenge, but it is also a great opportunity.  Let us use this chance to do the SCIENCE, do the research; to carry out a scientific investigation into Vaccine Hesitancy among our populations.  Then and only then, we will be able to truly understand and to stop casting blame on Social Media and other factors that may not even be causes of the problem.  At the end of the day, people are bright enough and educated enough to believe exactly what they want to believe.  And it may not be what you or I think.

Fear of Death is a Major Factor

In addition to fear, there is the issue of SHAME. Do you know that respectable, even retired women died silently of AIDS at home because of shame and false pride – their husbands or partners would have gone ‘outside’ and brought the disease home – but the shame of going to the hospital for treatment and ‘letting the neighbours know’ was too much to bear.  We live in a society where the VICTIMS are shamed and blamed.  And the perpetrators of sex and other crimes run free and, in some cases, even celebrated (like the uniformed policeman or the travelling salesman, who has more than one family across the country).

Shame and False Pride

In addition to fear, there is the issue of SHAME. Do you know that respectable, even retired women died silently of AIDS at home because of shame and false pride – their husbands or partners would have gone ‘outside’ and brought the disease home – but the shame of going to the hospital for treatment and ‘letting the neighbours know’ was too much to bear.  We live in a society where the VICTIMS are shamed and blamed.  And the perpetrators of sex and other crimes run free and, in some cases, even celebrated (like the uniformed policeman or the travelling salesman, who has more than one family across the country).


Yes, shame and scandal in the family may have something, or everything, to do with Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.  But let’s not guess. Let’s do the SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.


And while the calypso, “Shame and Scandal in the Family” is funny, it’s no longer funny when it is a question of life or death.  Is it that our culture is Killing us?


Dr. Auliana Poon

Dr. Auliana Poon is the founder and Managing Director of Leve Global and Exceptional Caribbean.

Auliana loves the Caribbean and believes in its people. Her personal mission is to change the world; to transform our societies. And this is precisely why she has spearheaded Exceptional Caribbean – a continuing mission to elevate tourism, trade and lives.

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25 thoughts on “Shame, Scandal and Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the Caribbean”

  1. This was an interesting article and I appreciate the interest in gathering data that may help understand our people. However while it discourages being arrogant and casting aspersions on the vaccine hesitant the article seems incapable of hiding its true goal, which is to find out why persons are not running after what are being referred to as vaccines. Without asking the many questions that would seem obvious to the “hesitant” I suggest another study. This study would be on the governments of the region, the opposition parties, the educational institutions, some religious institutions, the primary media and those who took these shots (especially those who are healthy and in their youth) to find out why they were so easily fooled into thinking that these C_19 shots were a good idea? With what level of thinking could it be a wise move to jab an entire population with something that is not well tested. With what conscience do they ignore so many warning signs of adverse reactions even death. Was it a heart issue or an intelligence deficit that they ignored early treatment options that are shown to work and have more studies than a particular FDA approved drug that does nothing. What is the capacity of government leadership to decipher how to apply international suggestions to a local situation and when to ignore these people (WHO, PAHO, FDA or CDC) altogether). Are our leaders even capable of independent analysis or must they march us all off this unknown cliff? The utter stupidity displayed by many leaders and some supposedly intelligent or educated people are everything some need to see to know that something isn’t right here and we will take our chances without any jab. I believe that there may be a very special place in hell reserved for those who looked people in the eye and told them these shots are safe. It is apparent that even though the information causing the so called hesitancy is available to everyone, those in charge seem unwilling or afraid to pay attention to it. The result of this is that they end up with a very unbalanced view of what is going on and what is feared might be going on. Many of those referred to as hesitant are actually much more informed and perhaps even much more intelligent than you think because they are weighing much more information from all angles. Many are also very educated and experienced. The way our so called leaders are brainwashed by the lagacy media is extremely concerning to many. Our leaders have shown tremendous weakness and inability during these times and this has not only been a Caribbean issue. Finally you call it hesitancy but for some it is not that. Those who go and take a shot when their country is in a covid storm (should be a no no but yet another example of poor understanding by ministries of health) might have been hesitant but for the rest it is simply survival as some have determined that they will fear better with covid than a jab and are prepared to face the consequences if they are wrong.

    1. 1) “something that is not well tested”, 2) “I believe that there may be a very special place in hell reserved for those who looked people in the eye and told them these shots are safe”, 3) “we will take our chances without any jab”

      1) This is patently false. mRNA vaccine research dates back over a decade. You can go on google right now and search the scientific literature and read these articles if you have an open mind.
      2) I believe there is a special place on earth for those who become critically ill with Covid-19 and are not fully vaccinated. It’s six feet under the ground. I believe this because all the scientific research points to this, with 97% of Covid-19 deaths belonging to the unvaccinated.
      3) Take your chance. I sincerely wish you the best of luck. Currently in the USA the ICUs are overloaded with unvaccinated Covid-19 patients. That is not the only thing killing people these days, as cardiac diseases, cancer, and lung diseases are still killing people at their normal rates. Many patients are turned away from ICUs and have to spend time that they don’t have waiting to be transferred elsewhere; they are dying because of this. These are preventable deaths, if Covid-19 patients weren’t taking up hospital beds.

      I know you are scared, I don’t blame you. The doctors and scientists aren’t involved in some grand conspiracy, they’re just putting their best work on display. At some point the scientists involved in these vaccines will be winning a Nobel Prize for their work. If you don’t want to enjoy the fruits of their labor, that is your decision. I would at least recommend talking to your doctor about the vaccine and keeping an open mind about their thoughts. I wish you luck, please be safe. Please wear your mask, wash your hands, and socially distance.

      1. I totally agree with this article and thank you for the clarification of so many why this and why that this debate has torn some family, friends, churches and co-workers apart.

        We all want the same thing (to live).

        1. As indicated by WHO and medical science, the vaccine does NOT prevent you from catching Covid-19. It does give you a fighting chance. Will some vaccinated people who get Covid die? Yes. But their chances of dying are far reduced because they are vaccinated.

          1. Dear ECG, thank you so much for taking the time to respond to us. Thank you for your suggestion that the real research should be on those that in act took the vaccine. Not a bad idea. Thanks also for confirming the reasons for ‘hesitancy’ – FEAR of the SAFETY of the vaccine and of FDA-approved drugs, that could lead to death; lack of ‘intelligent’ leaders to adapt international advice to local conditions in the Caribbean; and the willingness oof many to take a CHANCE on no-vax. With regard to research, should we also try to find out what percent of Billionaires have taken the vaccine; what percent of the one-percenters have taken the vaccine. What will we find? Perhaps that their Life is good want to live! What about the rest of us?

        2. Shame and Pride….what are you talking about. There is no Hesitancy, but a clear rejection of the mRNA drugs created by the same people who created the SarsCov2 virus in their bioweapons labs.

          You get on your Tyrannical high horse, saying that people are ignorant and need to have their Freedom taken away to force them to inject an Experimental mRNA genetic drug …..that in only nine months is related to the deaths of tens of thousands and injured millions around the World.
          And for what an injection that can not prevent infection or transmission but supposedly reduced symptoms.

          No thanks, but I have my God-given Natural Immunity, and natural Vit C, D3, Zinc, Turmeric/Curcumin, Ginger, Garlic etc that actually kills the SarsCov2 virus.

          1. Dear Kesri, thank you for your response and for confirming that there is FEAR that the people who created the VAX are the same ones who created the disease in the first place; that FREEDOM is key and people should not be forced to get vaxed; that the vax is not sufficiently proven and tested; and that it is not as effective in preventing transmission, just reducing symptoms; and finally, that natural medicine – ginger, garlic, turmeric is better.

          2. LACK of TRUST. Who is going to TRUST WHO when the former Communist head is buddy with China?

            Who is going to TRUST Fauci when he was in with China researching the virus.

            Who is going to TRUST a vaccine which hasn’t been fully tested- A vaccine we know has given blood clot, stroke and even killed People?

            There is more shame when people take the vaccine and their feet are swollen or other adverse effect.

            So Bill Gates is pushing the vaccine. But we know his formulae is CO2 in Atmosphere = People x Energy Used x CO2 produced. His was of reducing the CO2 is reducing people.

            Are you and Bill Gates serious about NOT wanting people die from the virus? Or did Fauci designed it to kill People?

            There are too many unanswered questions and discrepancies. Why should anyone trust any of You?

            Something is WRONG and something STRANGE GOING ON. This is a manmade virus and NOT a normal vaccine.

        3. So sad, nobody she seeks to reference is interested in what she calls science. She might reference psychology effectively but that isn’t her frame of reference. She needs to understand she isn’t dealing with people who use her frames of reference.

          1. Dear Bob, thank you for connecting with us. Can you elaborate on the ‘frame of reference’ that you are referring to? I will appreciate some clarification. Thanks, auliana.

        4. I must say that the article is quite interesting. However, given the World wide attention on COVID-19 which has become rather negative, confusing and grossly Political/Politicized especially, in the USA people no longer trusted their Governments nor the Vaccine. That’s it plain and simple! And, that’s one of the reasons why some people have refused to take it.

          1. Dear James, thank you for your comment. You are correct. The issue is one of trust and its opposite, FEAR. I believe that, generally, people want to live. But there is a lack of trust of our governments, which breeds fear, and also, fear of dying. With Covid, both are intertwined. FEAR squared, maybe? How do we break this circle of FEAR?

            1. In my opinion, vaccine hesitancy is caused by a combination of ignorance, religion and the influence of social media… judging by many of the comments I read online…not on here of course!😊

            2. You are so correct. Trust is the real pandemic. If there actually were a vaccine (ooh that innocent-sounding word) that dealt with this covid safely almost everyone would take it willingly. The very definition of a vaccine has been changed again just in August or sometime recently.

              One good thing that has come out of all this however is the use of Ivermectin. Besides it being very effective against C19 it has revealed which doctors, institutions, news and scientific sources are worth bothering with as we inevitably move into a new world. Parasites do not like that drug at all, very effective.

          2. From the beginning, the science proved to be doubting itself. Who else wouldn’t exercise doubts in it?
            Secondly… as a manufacturer of a product, you boldly released declaration… not willing to accept any liability as a result of mishaps derived from the use of your product. Where does this place me as a potential consumer????.

          3. Dear Auliana thank you for having the courage and decency to reply, all too often those in the Media post an article and cant be bothered to respond to comments.

            To be honest I dont Fear the Evil Psychopathic Elites of Politicians, Scientists and Big Pharma who are using Billions of people as Lab Rats, to Gain Money and Power.

            Freedom starts with us as Individuals to reject their Evil, Political Tyrants can say what they want but we have the power to defy them and refuse to comply.

            Their Great Reset and 6uild 6ack 6etter anti Human Agenda by the UN WEF is quite clear for all who have eyes, to see.

            Genetic editing Bat, SarsCov1, Pangolin and Humanised Mice Genetics to create this SarsCov2 bio weapon is just Satanic.

            Our morally bankrupt tyrannical political representatives are all going in the fire.
            We are in a bad relationship with many who have been entrusted in positions of power, but their time will come.

            Hope to see Faucci and all his minions around the world end up in Prison where they all belong for mass murder.
            On that deliverance of Justice, there definitely is no hesitancy from me.

          4. This artificial “pandemic” is what created international mistrust of the genetic “treatment ” imposed upon the world. Arguably, the same billionaires who funded the research are essentially the same folks selling the “treatment ” as these persons own the drug companies. Not everyone is bamboozled, bearing in mind the sentiments of eugenics that have rung out from these persons at one time or another.

          5. It is so depressing hearing the vitriol toward the life saving vaccines available to Bahamians and provided free from the US, our rich and powerful neighbour. Yes, misinformation is rampant everywhere on social media discouraging the average person because they either don’t have the skill, education or will to discern what is truth and what is a lie. Epidemiology is complex and most of can’t understand it fully. I am certainly not smart enough to say, one way or the other that I’m knowledgable enough about vaccines. So, I listen to the experts. All of our healthcare organisations, local and international, from the PHA, PAHO, The WHO, CDC and The FDA, all recommend the vaccines that are offered you are safe and effective. Not only that, all reports from local, US and international hospitals confirm that the dead and dying from COVID19 are predominantly unvaccinated while the vaccinated are protected, for the most part. Because I’m not an expert, I’m smart enough to listen to experts and not paranoid enough to believe all these good people have any evil intent. I’m just saddened by the fear, conspiracy theories, hesitancy and anti-vax. out there. Fortunately, as soon as the US declared that no one will be allowed entry unless vaccinated, only then did many citizens finally decide to get the two shots. I guess Walmart conquers fears?

          6. They that the ‘gates man and the ‘dr fassie man’ are major share holders in the big three pharma companies. Shameful and wicked!!!!!

          7. Some of us know what the government is up to. Some of us know what the government is capable of. Ask yourself….what do the whistle-blowers have to gain? NOTHING…there’s no money, fame or fortune in it for them. Why do doctors abandon their careers to speak their truths? Why are nurses, doctors and aids losing their livelihoods in refusal of taking a experimental drug? Why are hospitals in the U.S. NOT allowed to use alternate treatments? The scientific community has data to support the fact that the vaccine is killing people. Now estimated at 500,000 injuries and deaths in relation to the vaccines. Misinformation? NO, lack of information as governments around the world hide the truth. The intentional reduction in our population is key to this planets survival. No one is disputing the destructive effects of long term population growth. Die from Covid or Die from the vaccine…the result is the same. The goal of a 70% population reduction by 2030 will be achieved. Make no mistake about it.

          8. Caribbean people are still somewhat fresh out of the plantation culture unlike the US, we still have a naturalistic approach to many of our illnesses and have a plethora of herbs and remedies at our fingertips. There is fear within the diaspora for this vaccine, we still aren’t sure what the long-term results are, and we remember our history as a people and know that the bigger powers at play haven’t always been in our best interest. I believe a lot of people aren’t trusting their leaders and governments, so they aren’t going to sign up for some shady treatment from shady leaders…

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