Bar unvaxxed from public buildings?
Councillor explores barring unvaccinated from public buildingsSaturday, September 11, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
LUCEA, Hanover — The controversial issue of vaccine passes spilled over into Thursday's meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation with the parish's medical officer of health shutting down a suggestion that people entering the building should be asked to show proof of a negative test if they are not vaccinated.
Dr Marcia Johnson Campbell warned that this approach could contribute to simmering divisions within the society between the vaccinated and those who have not yet got the jab.
She was responding to a question from councillor for the Lucea Division, Easton Edwards, on the legality of barring the unvaccinated from entering public spaces such as the municipal corporation building.
“I don't know if we should have a free-for-all where everybody can come in and use the utensils or touch the doorknob or so forth even though we have our thing (temperature check and sanitisation machines) at the entrance,” said Edwards. “I am wondering… if people are coming, if we can say to them, to [get] in..., we are going [to] ask that you show us a document to say that you are negative if you don't want to take the vaccine. And those who have been vaccinated are free to come in. I am wondering if that is legal,” queried Councillor Edwards.
Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels quickly responded to the query, saying that while Edwards was partly correct, his comments were inappropriate for someone elected to serve the people.
Dr Johnson Campbell went further in her comments.
“We do not want to be at war or creating a division between vaxed and unvaxed. It is not a nice thing and a lot of the discussion is pushing that kind of division which we cannot afford at this time,” she said.
She also stressed that vaccines are not mandatory in Jamaica. The best approach, she added, is to follow the protocols and sanitise high-touch spaces frequently and thoroughly.
“We encourage that the doorknobs are regularly cleaned, the surfaces are regularly cleaned, you wash your hands, you wear your mask appropriately and stay home if you are sick,” urged Dr Johnson Campbell. “Get vaccinated but don't use it as a trump card and divide others.