British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 20, 2021

Barbados & Guyana considering mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

Barbados & Guyana considering mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

As COVID-19 continues to result in hospitalisations, deaths and adversely affected economies in the Caribbean and around the world, CARICOM nations Barbados and Guyana are considering mandatory vaccination for the virus.

According to Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on July 30, 2021, Barbados is also giving consideration to the possibility of mandatory testing for the virus which has affected 196 million people across the globe and killed 4.19 million.

Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall has been tasked with providing Government with a legal opinion on the criminal and civil liability associated with mandatory COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia A. Mottley said that advice should be ready by early next month and would be followed by a series of consultations on the way forward.

Mottley previously said workers having to pay for their own COVID-19 tests may be the price they will have to pay for refusing the free vaccine being made available to them.

She said workers would not be forced to take the vaccine, but noted that employers may have to take precautions to ensure the work environment remains safe for all workers.

In the Virgin Islands, the Government of Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), while expressing the need for persons to become vaccinated against COVID-19 has repeatedly said mandatory vaccination is not an option being considered.


Guyana to make a decision in ‘due course’


In the meantime, according to CMC, Guyana’s Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony says Government will take a decision on the matter of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in due course.

He said the Government is paying close attention to the evolution of the virus in order to ensure it adequately adjusts its vaccination response, noting that with the fast-spreading Delta variant several governments around the world have moved to mandatory vaccination.

Several private sector companies in Guyana have instituted mandatory vaccination within their organisations, and Dr Anthony said Government is keeping a close watch even as it explores other strategies to combat vaccine hesitancy.

Vaccination remains a matter of choice in the Virgin Islands despite the low response to being inoculated.


Vaccination remains a ‘choice’ in VI


In the Virgin Islands, the Government of Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), while expressing the need for persons to become vaccinated against COVID-19 has repeatedly said mandatory vaccination is not an option being considered.

“Your Government remains resolute to date, to not make mandatory the taking of vaccines. We have always stated that it is each person's choice whether they want to be vaccinated or not,” Premier Fahie had said on June 9, 2021, amid false reports that Cabinet was making it mandatory for frontline workers, including teachers, to be inoculated.

The VI Government has instead facilitated persons wishing to travel to the US Virgin Islands to take the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca jab.

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