Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday has restated his party’s support for vaccination as a means of containing the COVID-19 pandemic, but says that citizens should not be pressured or enticed into taking the jab.
Friday told a press conference on Wednesday that he has been consistent in his support for vaccination, and took the jab because he believes it is safe and necessary “to get back to our lives”.
“But nobody should threaten anybody and make them feel that somehow their fears … are not worth exploring,” the opposition leader said.
“You know that I feel it is best for there to be widespread vaccination.
But people need sound information that takes their concerns and fears into account and addresses them.
“The government must take it seriously and stop sending mixed messages about what needs to be done and why it needs to be done,” he told the media.
Recently, the government has taken to what some consider as pressure tactics in an attempt to get some sectors of the society to take the jab, although it is not mandatory.
For instance, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had said that his government would pass a law mandating that omnibus operators get vaccinated, if they want to increase their ridership, beyond half, as is the case currently, because of the pandemic.
The government is yet to pass the law, which the omnibus group described as resorting to a “draconian Chinese measure”.
Gonsalves has further said that the country will have carnival this year, if, by May, a certain number of persons have been vaccinated.
The prime minister has also suggested that teachers should take the jab before they return to the classroom. Minister of Education, Curtis King, responding to an opposition question, told parliament last week that the vaccine is not mandatory.
Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, Friday said that the COVID-19 situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is worse than it was any time last year.
“Despite the downplaying of the situation by members of the government, we must all know that the situation is still very bad and may not get much better anytime soon,” he said.
The opposition leader said that citizens must continue to do the things that make them safe, including wearing face masks in public, physical distancing, the frequent washing of hands and cough etiquette.
“The best medical and scientific advice is to use vaccination to combat COVID 19. This is the safest and fastest way to get back to a functional society and economy,” the opposition leader said.
He said that in other parts of the world, especially Europe, the United States and Canada, the pace of vaccination has accelerated.
“Those countries are looking to open their economies and societies sooner rather than later, despite recent setbacks,” he said.
Friday acknowledged that some people have concerns about the vaccines and some of these concerns are reasonable and some “based on unfounded theories and disinformation.
“We must take the matter seriously and inform ourselves about vaccination from reputable and knowledgeable sources.
“Ask those people here who have been vaccinated about the process and how they came to decide to be vaccinated. Then, hopefully, you will feel sufficiently informed and comfortable enough to be vaccinated. We need to do it to get our lives back and to get tourism back.”
He said that this year, people from SVG’s tourism source markets will be vaccinated, adding that people want to travel and, hopefully, SVG’s can have a tourism boom from this pent up demand.
“But, that said, no one should threaten you about vaccination.
He said he believes that proper information and the experience of those vaccinated in SVG “will lead most people, hopefully, sooner rather than later, to vaccinate.
“No one should make offers that seem to be more political than based on public health concerns.”
The opposition leader spoke of “the offer, or threat” by the government to van drivers that if they take the vaccine, they can carry more passengers.
He said that this does not appear to be based on public health requirements.
“What sense does this make if it is not grounded in the science of what is safe in the vans?” Friday said.
He said there was further “enticement” to young people that if they become vaccinated, they might have carnival this year.
“For me, this is trivialising the important decision that people have to make to become vaccinated.
“It also fails to recognise the effort and planning it takes to hold carnival, and it does not appreciate the difficulties and feelings of those people directly involved with the various components of Carnival…
“To reduce it simply as an enticement to the young people to take the vaccine is not sending the serious and consistent message that needs to be sent.”
Must Watch before taking the Jab
The basis of the video may be true but many of the intermediary facts are far-fetched. As people write in the comments- The label Judeo-Christian is misleading. Most all Jews hate Jesus. They believe they are the masters and all other religions are inferior. Volumes can be written about how most all Christians have been fooled from the beginning into believing Jews are their “masters”, the “chosen people”. Jesus was NEVER Jewish. He was in fact THE FIRST CHRISTIAN.
Just like this virus and the accompanying vaccines. Most of us are so very easily fooled into doing what we are told: Such as into wearing useless masks, in fear of a virus that TENS OF THOUSANDS of doctors around the world have been telling us is just a mild flu for anyone below 80 and of even moderate health. It seems we now know the videos of people dropping in the streets in China were fake propaganda, as are so much other fake news and videos.
Any deaths “from” this virus are seemingly from other causes and the virus is just a “booster”. The former leader of Tanzania and other nations have mentioned that governments are given INCENTIVES to exaggerate or boost the effects of the virus. Is this also the case in SVG?
Although Friday is misinformed and uninformed about the medical aspects concerning the virus and vaccines, at least he does not believe people should be forced into getting vaccinated. It is strange that it seems our PM is NOT misinformed but he seeks to force people to get vaccinated (omnibus drivers, teachers, etc…). There is so much in the world today that makes no sense. Just like the fact that Friday has a better Macro-Economic Philosophy than our PM but he wants to close the borders and lock everyone inside for three months effectively destroying the economy…Opposite to our PM, who just wants higher taxes and does not care about jobs, has at least kept the Economy mostly open.
Nothing makes sense sometimes.
Dr Friday does not seem to know that there are no plans to get back to “normal” anytime soon. vax or not, you will still have to wear a mask, etc…
Why are some people moving in on what Friday said? He took the vaccine and is encouraging others to do likewise. Ralph attitude is draconian and insulting. Folks in many countries refuse to take the vaccine because of the recent blood-clot issue. Folks believe they can handle the issue by wearing a mask, keeping their distance and probably washing their hands.
It’s not the driver who may be responsible for spreading the virus, but the passengers, so why go after the drivers trying to bribe them.
Nine Morning celebration may have been the culprit that increased SVG numbers, so talking about Carnival is a terrible bribe since most countries will definitely cancel carnival until 2023 or 2024. Will there be enough rooms and police to ensure folks will quarantine for 10 to 14 days, if they are coming to enjoy carnival. Ralph is becoming a danger to SVG and Vincentians.
Both the relevant authorities and people in general need to understand that it’s not just a case of people not wanting to take the Covid vaccine. If even just a few persons died after taking the vaccine, and the majority who took it have not died, persons will still be concerned. A person may ask: “Can I be sure that I will not be the next fatality if I take the Covid vaccine, due to its negative interaction with some preexisting health condition that I was not aware of?” Once there is the danger of blood clot, and possible death, it is only logical and sensible that people will be concerned about taking the vaccine. So NO ONE has the right to insist or dictate that persons should or should not take the vaccine. It is a personal choice.
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