Mixed views on Gov't making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory
Making The RoundsSaturday, October 16, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
Jamaicans have given mixed responses to Prime Minister Andrew Holness's indications that mandatory vaccination could be inevitable, based on the slow take-up of COVID-19 vaccines.
While some people have expressed disapproval, others believe it is the only way for the society to return to normal, a point continuously hammered by Holness during his visits to vaccination sites over the past few weeks.
On Thursday, however, Holness appeared to have climbed down from his earlier suggestions of a mandate, saying that no one will be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine, even as he put a timeline on when the Government will roll out what he has now labelled a vaccine option that will kick in once half of the country's population is inoculated.
Meanwhile, some private sector companies have issued vaccine mandates to their staff, the latest being National Commercial Bank (NCB), which this week noted that that COVID-19 disease had taken a heavy toll on the company — almost 200 confirmed cases since March 2020 and three deaths — and as such the staff would have to be fully vaccinated, effective November 3, 2021.
Any staff member who refuses to abide by the policy, even if working remotely, will have to present a negative PCR test by the Wednesday of each week, the bank said.
Jamaica has a population of approximately three million citizens and so far, according to officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, just over 337,000 have been fully vaccinated with single- and double-dose vaccines. More than 523,000 people have received their first dose of the vaccine, while a total of 860,482 doses have been administered since the start of the vaccination programme in March this year.
Here are the responses of Jamaicans with whom the Jamaica Observer spoke this week.
I don't think it should be made mandatory. Everyone has a choice and you should leave them to their own opinion to choose whether they want it or not. I don't think anyone should force others to do what they don't want to do.
I have mixed views, because there is no provision in law for it and I don't think that the population at large is particularly comfortable with it. There are arguments for it and against it. Some people talk about public safety because they want the society to go back to normal but then again there are others who, for various reasons, can't take the vaccines and I don't think they ought to be forced to take. It is really a dilemma and it is a tricky situation. It is something that we just have to manage.
Yes, he should make it mandatory. From it is beneficial to the country I can't say anything about. I take one already and I am waiting on the next one.
It should be easy to make it mandatory. There is no other choice and that is what it boils down to. If you have COVID-19 and I don't have it, at the end of the day I going to end up catch it because me a socialise with you, so one way or the other it should be made mandatory.
It should be every man for himself and let every man examine it for himself and find the truth and deal with it. We have been taking vaccines from we were babies. Every man has to judge themselves and take responsibility. I am not against the vaccine but every man should be able to say this right or is this wrong. Every man is responsible for their own health and their position in life. Harm no man and let no man harm you.
Vaccine shouldn't be mandatory. People have their rights and they should be able to express themselves. Suppose you have underlying illnesses and you take it and it hurts you? I say no. It is wrong.
I think it depends on your area of work and when it comes to certain things. Other than that it should be up to you if you want to take it or not.
You can't force people fi tek it. You can't force people to do what they don't want to. If you have underlying issues, something a go end up wrong wid yu. If a it fi save the country, then for sure, it should be mandatory. If it a go kill people, it nah go mek sense. Di prime minister never did think seh him shouldn't open up the country for [the entertainment industry]. A dem things deh mek di numbers climb again.