Editorial

Time To Rethink The No Mandatory Vaccination Policy

The health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are forcing governments around the world to rethink their strategies on combating the disease. The prolonged costs to governments as a result of the impacts of the pandemic are now forcing them to go down paths they never thought they would have had to tread.

For instance, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will on Monday institute measures that many Saint Lucians may well consider too harsh when it comes to inoculation against the coronavirus.

According to that country’s government all unvaccinated government employees, including members of the public service, statutory corporations and companies in which the government owns majority shares shall be required to remain at home until proof of vaccination is provided.

The Antiguan government further stated that as of 1st October, 2021 no public sector employees, inclusive of the aforementioned shall be paid a salary or wage for the period of non-compliance with the current policy. The measures also called for all officers and support staff of Antigua’s police and defence forces to be vaccinated effective 1st October, 2021. The list of measures by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is long.

What is happening in Antigua and other parts of the world is the realization by governments that the only way out of the COVID-19 trap is to institute some form of mandatory vaccination.

We are fully aware of Prime Minister Philip J Pierre’s reluctance to institute a mandatory vaccination policy, however we hope that this averseness is not etched in stone.

With hundreds of Saint Lucians testing positive every week for the past eight or so weeks, coupled with 148 COVID deaths to date and over 2,400 active cases; that decision by government not to go the route of mandatory vaccination as a measure to halt the virus’ spread should be revisited, even as a last resort.

The rapid progress of the Delta variant and other variants of the virus should inspire government to rethink its decision. Let’s be reasonable here, authorization of a national COVID-vaccination mandate could prevent inter-district spread of the virus, maintain a healthy workforce, improve productivity levels at a time when the virus itself threatens to lower such levels, sustain jobs by not increasing unemployment, and more.

While we understand that there will be legal challenges to a law authorizing mandatory vaccination, we also understand that there can be exemptions on religious and medical grounds. However, that aside, we believe that a challenge to a law of that nature will not cause a constitutional problem for government. After all, Saint Lucians have, from long ago, been vaccinated against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, influenza, meningitis and others.

Our question to the government: Should it be found necessary for the public health or safety that mandatory COVID-19 vaccination is the way to go, will government continue to hold fast to its no mandatory vaccination policy?

With the havoc the Delta variant is causing to date, should another variant, more transmissible than Delta surface, will government continue to hold fast to its decision not to go down the path of mandatory vaccination?

There is a train of thought that says compulsory vaccination is an assault upon a person and a violation of due process in that it interferes in a person’s right to care for his/her own body in a way that he/she deems best.

But is individual liberty absolute, especially if it endangers the common good? Should not liberty, meaning real liberty, include the duty to restrain from harming others?

Should real liberty, or the freedom given to a person as enshrined in our Constitution, mean that one person, or a minority of persons in the country, have the power to dominate the majority, a majority that is acting to protect health and safety of the entire country?

In the words of Senator Alvina Reynolds the medical facilities are “stretched and stressed” to breaking point. The same can be said for the whole of society, especially the economy and education.  Mr. Prime Minister, you have said on many an occasion you will follow the science; perhaps the time has come to recognize that the government’s responsibility is not so much following as leading. The science is only one facet of the issue. The economy, education, social intercourse, familial mutual support, sporting activities are all issues of which leadership must be cognizant.

Mr. Prime Minister, please act now, rather than later.

2 Comments

  1. Before you talk mandatory vaccination Mr. Editor. A virus which comes from the SAR2 FAMILY, 99.97 Recoverable, has little to no effect on children. Introduce a vaccine which has now been proven to lose its effectiveness after a few months not to mention you still have to do test, wear mask and you’re still able to spread the virus after being inoculated. With data from “VERS” showing thousands of dead person’s and ten of thousands of person’s with adverse reactios to their bodies, plus with the government, WHO, CDC flip flopping on the information given me Tous ever month while s hundreds of other doctors are censored and silent for their views on the matter ; YOU EXPECT THE POPULIST TO TRUST YOU???
    do you think we have forgotten 1918 Spanish flu and how millions died of BACTERIALPneumonia? The tuskegee experiment? Just to name few!!!!
    Before you talk mandates let’s talk prevention.
    We have many other countries like India, El Salvador to name a few are using different methods to combat this virus. Vitamins, exercise, ivermectin etc… and the list goes on. This conversation can go on and on but my point is, before you ask person to give their ONEGOD GIVEN BODY to the government or scientist please remember we only have one body that cannot be replaced and no government is bigger than it’s people. We have choices and making a decision should never feel like being forced or cohersed. It can easily be translated into tyranny, socialism or communism.

  2. I try not to let the depth of my pessimism out too often but I must say that the road ahead looks very bleak for unvaccinated people. It’s been reported that the infection with the Delta variant produces virus amount in the airways that are tenfold higher than what is seen in people infected with the Alpha variant, which is also highly contagious. One study concluded that people who were not fully vaccinated were far more susceptible to infection and death from the virus. Those individuals were also 4.5 times more likely than vaccinated individuals to become infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die from coronavirus. The study also found that vaccine protection against hospitalization and death remained strong even when the Delta variant was the dominant form of infection.
    Meanwhile, the rhetoric of freedom that is being asserted by some people is all about privilege. The privilege to act with disdain and scorn towards others in a society that is facing a deadly and debilitating disease. The unchecked spread of infection has consequences for the entire society.

    Currently, major religious organizations are nearly unanimous in their support of Covid-19 vaccines. Nevertheless, many people say they are hesitant to get vaccinated for religious reasons. As for medication, the most promising treatment option is monoclonal antibodies. The animal deworming agent, Ivermectin, is known to do more harm than good and is strongly discouraged by the C.D.C. and the FDA.

    With so many unknowns about the coronavirus, it is time for Prime Minister Pierre to stop being diffident and institute a vaccine mandate. Vaccination isn’t a personal decision; it’s a public healthcare decision necessary to safeguard the wellbeing of the citizenry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *