by Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) — Mandatory vaccination continues to be a hot and sensitive topic across the Caribbean region amongst leaders and top government officials.
Prime Ministers Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada’s Dr. Kieth Mitchell have been amongst the first Caribbean leaders to utter similar sentiments regarding the mandatory administration of the Covid-19 vaccine.
However, citizens and residents from St. Kitts and Nevis share a different view on the matter.
Callers to WINN’s popular “Voices” program on Wednesday, May 05 argued the case for those who are against the mandatory administration of the Covid-19 vaccine to people but urged people to take advantage of the free jabs.
“Why does it have to get to the point where it has to be mandatory? We can see what the benefits are to us… to be able to get back on track earlier and for people to get back their jobs. We’re not only protecting ourselves but our children at home, our parents, and those that we interact with.
And, so I am encouraging our people [to take the vaccine] so I personally don’t like to hear this mandatory thing. Nobody likes that and nobody wants to hear about mandatory anything! But why are we allowing it to get to that?” the agitated caller stressed.
Another caller said “the Rasta men were totally against vaccination. Were they wrong? They decided it’s their children and that they will not take it.”
According to an article in the Jamaica Observer in early April 2021, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced that all staff at quarantine facilities for incoming passengers will soon have to be vaccinated, as part of the government’s plan to protect citizens from a community outbreak of Covid-19.
The Jamaica Gleaner reported that Prime Minister Gaston Browne has warned of the possibility of implementing a mandatory vaccination program in Antigua and Barbuda as he criticized persons who were encouraging others not to participate in the national inoculation initiative aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is not a threat,” Browne said on his weekend radio program, noting that the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the socio-economic development of the island since the first case was diagnosed last March.
We are struggling on a monthly basis to meet salaries and wages and you are telling me that Antigua and Barbuda as one of the hardest-hit countries, one of the most vulnerable, you are telling me we have the luxury of not getting vaccinated? “Well, I want to say definitively to the people of Antigua and Barbuda that we do not have the luxury of not getting vaccinated and if we do not get the herd immunity perhaps in the next 60 to 90 days there is going to be weeping and gnashing of teeth in this country,” Browne said.