My Turn, Sharon Grant: Options for COVID-19 treatment could be liberating

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 22, 2021

By Sharon Grant

Is it time for local health departments to consider alternative health care treatment options for emergency use authorizations against the virus that causes COVID-19?

Across the country, there are news headlines that are revealing the ideological fault lines between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. School district employees and health care workers are at the epicenter of the conflict, including nurses in Houston who have appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit and are determined to take it to the Texas Supreme Court. Anxiety riddled persons are acting out on airplanes, grocery stores and countless public spaces.

At the center of the conflict is the idea of freedom and what it means in the United States of America. As a middle-aged black woman born in Texas to a Jamaican immigrant father and native-born Texan mother, shrills of freedom by persons enshrined in white privilege, have often meant the denial of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to persons in my community. However, even as the numbers of persons dying of coronavirus are rising due to the delta variant and vaccination rates stalling, many people consider health care treatment options as a fundamental right of liberty.

Centuries ago, the founding fathers of this nation recognized the terror and destruction that religious conflict caused during the Protestant Reformation era and determined that religion would never be a deterrent for citizens in the newly formed republic committed to the principles of democracy.

Might it be time, to seriously consider the widening the notion of scientific freedom that resembles the concretized First Amendment religious freedom for the US citizen?

This could look like a local health department allowing a person who has tested positive for coronavirus to receive an alternative treatment under the watchful eye of a coordinated team consisting of medical doctors, research scientists and traditional healers. The scientific results for persons willing to be treated in an alternative manner would then be documented and made public as an emergency use authorization protocol. To deny health care options in a time of pandemic  encourages conspiracy theories that erode social relations and undermine intellectual prowess.

As one who is allergic to the Pfizer vaccine, I speak for many who cannot attain fully vaccinated status and want to emphasize the need for scientific freedom during this time of global health care crisis.

North Carolina is home to several of the world’s leading research institutions. The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have been tested for efficacy, and determined to be useful for emergency use authorization; yet, which leading university research center is willing to coordinate a team of pharmacologists, ethnobotanists and medical doctors to perform a clinical trial to determine effective alternative remedies to the virus that causes COVID-19?

Across the globe, ethnobotanists are clamoring for the opportunity to demonstrate empirical evidence that supports the efficacy of plants used for centuries as antiviral medicine for humanity. Perhaps scientific freedom during a time of pandemic may reveal alternative treatments ans emergency use authorization options that botanical scientific data has determined useful for restoring or maintaining health and supporting harmonious relations between persons who happen to be unwilling or unable to take the vaccine.

Options are liberating.

Sharon Grant is a Texas-born Salisbury resident with a newly acquired taste for North Carolina’s culture and cuisine.