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Sir James calls for political leaders to stand up and be counted in COVID crisis

Sir James calls for political leaders to stand up and be counted in COVID crisis
Sir James Mitchell

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RESIDENTS in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), are being called upon to take the COVID-19 vaccine and ignore politicians who say they agree with vaccination but not mandating it.

“Any politician who talks about the word mandated, he doesn’t understand the problems of communication with our people. If you say ‘I am for vaccination but I am not for mandatory vaccination’, the word ‘mandatory’ drop, and people will label you and say you are against vaccination,” former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, said on Sunday.

Sir James called into WE FM’s ‘Issue at Hand’ programme to share in the dialogue on the national COVID19 vaccination drive. The former Prime Minister, who has made his position clear in support of vaccination, said politicians ought to stand up and be counted in the crisis that is the ongoing pandemic.

“I cannot understand a politician who is lukewarm about vaccination or not prepared to take a stand. Are they not aware that they are going against the tide of history? Are they going to change their minds when like Grenada, 105 people die in St Vincent from COVID? What makes you think we will escape?

COVID is not going away.

It will be here and we have got to learn to protect ourselves,” he said.

The New Democratic Party in recent times has been part of protest against mandating vaccines for front-line workers.

Dr Godwin Friday, the party’s current leader however has said he supports the vaccine but that people are entitled to making their own choice on the matter. He was among the first batch of persons to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in February when the local vaccination drive began.

Sir James, a past president of the NDP, believes that vaccination is the best tool in the fight against COVID19.

“You got to be on board on all counts…everybody is entitled with their view but as a scientist, as a person who has spent a lot of time, 50 years of my life helping and looking after the people of St Vincent, if you think you owe me one, the one thing I say that Vincentians owe me is to get vaccinated.

Please, go and get vaccinated,” he said.

So far, just over 33,000 vaccines have been administered locally.

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