A scary scenario: You're locked in a room with a very venomous snake coiled to strike. Suddenly, a table appears with a bottle labelled “Drink me to cut the chances of the snake biting you from 100% to 25%”. Would you drink it or take your chances with the reptile? 

That’s pretty much our current predicament. The vaccine is a bit of an enigma. It’s new, you’ve never seen it before, who knows what the long-term effects could be? So it’s understandable if you’re concerned.

On the flip side, just like we know what happens if a venomous snake bites you, the science says patients may suffer long-term if they contract COVID-19. You may live to tell the tale, but at what cost? Here are some serious issues Covid survivors face. 

Respiratory problems
Months after recovery, many COVID-19 patients continue to grapple with respiratory problems. The pneumonia associated with Covid can cause severe lung damage. Survivors are short of breath after physical activity, no matter how fit they were before. Patients with mild infections aren’t exempt either. Many have a lingering cough even months after they’ve gotten better. 

Brain fog
Sluggish thinking is common for people recovering from illnesses like the flu. Many Covid survivors, however, take much longer for their brain to return to normal. Some report issues with memory and concentration months after recovery, stunting their ability to get back to their old self. 

Loss of taste and smell 
We all know the loss of taste and smell are symptoms of COVID-19. Unfortunately, for a few survivors, that symptom is sticking around. Doctors aren’t sure why Covid affects patients’ ability to smell and taste food, so they have no clue how to cure it. Imagine a world where you can’t tell if your food wants likkle pepper. 

Survivor’s Guilt 
As the Ministry implores, it isn’t just your health you should think about. How will you feel if your mild or asymptomatic case of COVID puts your loved ones in the hospital or worse? It’s the harsh reality some survivors have already faced. Experts say survivor’s guilt is an increasing issue in the pandemic. It isn’t limited to those who pass on the virus either. For those who encounter it though, it can be debilitating

All of the above assumes you survive COVID-19. Globally, 2.96 million people have died. To put it in perspective, that’s Jamaica’s entire population. Those people left behind devastated loved ones: spouses, children, friends. The choice is yours, but before you write off the vaccine completely, consider the other side. Which risk are you willing to take?