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Make vaccination mandatory for front-line workers – former PM

Make vaccination mandatory for front-line workers  – former PM
Former Prime Minister and Former President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Sir James Mitchell

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Being vaccinated against COVID-19 should be a requirement for all persons over the age of 18 but specifically, frontline workers, members of the public service and the local business community.

Sir James Mitchell, a former prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, expressed these thoughts on the ongoing vaccination process.

Mitchell said on radio on Tuesday that nurses, along with doctors, are responsible for taking care of the population but he has heard nurses express that they would not be taking the vaccine.

“All I have to say to those nurses is they should go back to school. And I would say to the government, other areas have got to be carefully monitored. No policeman should be able to touch a person and arrest them unless that policeman is vaccinated. Period,” the former prime minister said while speaking on the OMG morning programme on BOOM FM.

As at 6 pm on Tuesday, March 9, 6689 vaccinations had been administered in SVG.

Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is not mandatory.

But the former prime minister doesn’t believe that this should be the case in all instances, particularly if Vincentians are interested in improving the country’s economy, which has been suffering due to the fallout from the pandemic.

“Personal choice is one thing but if your personal choice affects others, you are no longer free to do so. It is a basic policy of governance. You can do what you want, but do not offend others, do not hurt others and do not stop other people enjoying a good life,” he said.

Mitchell said that there are certain lines that must be drawn and eventually, persons will see that if they want to do business again, they must be vaccinated.

He also opined that soon, persons will not be allowed to enter the offices of doctors, lawyers and other business people unless they are vaccinated.

He added that the vaccine has the potential to affect employment and tourism, as receiving a salary is dependent on a booming economy.

“If the economy is suffering, we all have to do something about it. What is our choice? Doing nothing and saying somebody else must do the job for us? That is not what life is about. We all have our role to play,” Mitchell said.

While sharing his views on radio this week, the elder statesman expressed hope that the government would partner with radio stations to announce vaccination sites on an ongoing basis.

He referred to the recently launched nationwide vaccination programme, expressing delight that the authorities have moved away from the requirement that persons interested in being vaccinated must fill a form.

The former prime minister also suggested that empty hotels be used as vaccination sites, while expressing willingness to offer the Frangipani Hotel as a site for persons to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.