Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has made another impassioned plea for Barbadians who can be vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so, and encouraged others to join with them in the battle.
In particular, she urged parents to take their children to be vaccinated over the next five weeks to facilitate the return to “functional school”.
Speaking during a virtual address to the nation from Ilaro Court this afternoon, Ms. Mottley called on members of Parent Teacher Associations, teachers, parents, class groups and the wider society to join in the effort, to encourage others to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
She noted that one in every two Bajan adults had already taken the vaccine, while one in every five children between 12 and 18 was also inoculated.
But, Ms. Mottley stressed, there was a need to boost those numbers urgently, by getting more people on board and expanding the fight.
“So, what is the simple message my friends, that we need each of us to reach one. Each one, reach one …. Each one reaches one, instead of having one in every two adult Bajans, we can get as close to almost all.
“I know and accept, there are some, for religious reasons, who will not take it. And there are some, who for medical reasons, cannot take it. But those of us who can, and those of us who can encourage others to do, as I have been doing … we need now for the effort to go broad,” she emphasised.
She explained that the Delta variant of the virus was spreading throughout families and was proving “most deadly and most dastardly” in homes when people take off their masks.
“It means that when your guards are down, at home, the Delta is prancing up and literally taking out people, hence why the Ministry of Health [and Wellness] is now having family clusters,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
She further warned that the COVID battle was not “simply on the highways and byways, or business establishments, or even churches in this country”, but “in the nooks and crannies of this nation”.
And, while emphasising the importance of wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing and sanitising, Ms. Mottley stressed that it was important to get as many people on board as possible to save lives.
She told the country that everyone, from the Social Partnership, to non-governmental organisations, church leaders, individual households, businesses, liming groups and sporting teams, need to join with Government in the battle against COVID-19.
However, Ms. Mottley outlined that while Government was not mandating vaccinations for adults, systems were already in place requiring students to be vaccinated, except for religious and medical reasons.
During her address, the Prime Minister again gave the assurance that Barbados was not “locking down”, but explained that the country needed to “slow down” to boost its vaccination rate.
But, she warned, the bottom line was that COVID was the island’s immediate threat.
“What we do need is the people who can take vaccines; taking it, not just for yourself, but … that age group between zero and 12, they can’t have a vaccine yet…. Who takes care of them? The country that I know is the country that protects the most vulnerable,” she stated.