Government has not yet made a policy decision as it relates to making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for Barbados.
This assurance has come from Acting Attorney General Wilfred Abrahams, as he addressed the first of a series of town hall meetings to address the topic at the Alexandra School hall and on the virtual platform yesterday.
Addressing those present at the Queen’s Street, St. Peter school, Minister Abrahams sought to dispel misconceptions that Government was trying to impose the vaccine on residents.
He said persons were speaking about “forced vaccinations”, but stressed that “nothing could be further from the truth”.
“No one can hold you down and stick a needle in your arm. You have rights with respect to your body, but equally other persons have rights with respect to theirs, and business owners have rights with respect to that as well,” he stated.
But, at the same time, he made it clear that a way forward that accommodated Barbados as a whole, its economy, the safety of citizens, their way of life and the rights of all needed to be found.
Mr. Abrahams said while there may be varying views on the subject matter, the town hall meetings were being held to hear suggestions from the public.
“The Government does not have a policy position as it stands now in respect of mandatory vaccination of anybody,” he said.
The Acting Attorney General said while officials may have an idea about what they wanted to do in the situation, there may be other opinions that could be heard to put together a combination of factors.
“I would prefer that at this point in time that we take suggestions; we take full discussions; ask the questions that you want to ask to put you in an informed position…to come up with a solution,” the Minister pointed out.
He urged persons to weigh as many factors as possible to come up with the best decision for the majority of people.
During the meeting, Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic; Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kenneth George, and Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Leslie Rollock, made presentations and responded to a range of questions from the public, including those about quarantine procedures, the effectiveness of the vaccine and possible side effects.
The second meeting in the series coordinated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11, at the Princess Margaret Secondary School, Six Roads, St. Philip, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Persons may also register to join the meeting via Zoom through the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_h9XhOK5kSuyYZVMHDCER_Q.