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Vaccine

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The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and the major trade unions representing public sector workers may be heading for a confrontation over vaccination against COVID-19.

The Public Service Union, Teachers’ Union and Police Welfare Association have written to the government asking for an urgent meeting before Friday, April 2, to discuss the policy that says government workers who have not taken a COVID-19 jab must be tested as regularly as every two weeks.

“… public servants may consent to testing; however, they ought not to be subjected to any frequency that is not demanded from the wider population or any other special group. Further, the either-or approach has a punitive element attached,” the unions said in a joint press release.

On Wednesday, iWitness News obtained a copy of a Cabinet memo, which indicated that Cabinet had decided, on March 24, that all government employees who have not taken the COVID-19 jab are required to be tested regularly for the novel coronavirus.

The test could be conducted up to once every two weeks, “based on risk levels and determined by the health authorities”, Cabinet Secretary Kattian Barnwell-Scott said in the memo.

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The communique, which had as its subject “POLICY ON VACCINATION AND TESTING OF PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS” was addressed to the attorney general, director-general of finance and planning, chief personnel officer, and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health.

Barnwell-Scott said that public sector workers who have received their first and/or second dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine are to submit copies of their vaccination records to their respective ministries, departments, or agencies by April 7.

She said that the attorney general was requested to advise “on the legal implications with respect to non-compliance with this policy.

“The Cabinet Secretary was also instructed to convene a meeting with all permanent secretaries and heads of department to communicate the decision of the Cabinet,’ the memo said.

The memo became public hours after the union issued a joint statement “in response to the government’s new position that public officers must either vaccinate or be subjected to COVID-19 testing every two weeks, and failure to comply with either offering will result in disciplinary proceedings”.

The unions said the current scientific knowledge is that none of the vaccines can definitively prevent anyone from getting or spreading COVID-19.  

“State authorities say that the vaccine is not mandatory, but their approach appears to give our members little or no choice. Its message is take the vaccine or else we will punish you,” the joint statement continued.

It said that according to the latest figures, SVG has recorded 1,739 COVID-19 cases with over 1,500 persons having recovered after experiencing mild or no symptoms.

“They required no medical intervention to recover. This reality begs the question: how is the vaccine assisting persons whose immune system does and can do what the vaccine purported to do?” the union said.

Ten persons in SVG have died of COVID-19 since the country recorded its first case on March 11, 2020.

The unions said that they are cognisant of the fact that COVID-19 has become a public health threat “and that the world is craving to get back to some sort of normalcy with the roll out of the vaccination programmes.

“However, the manner in which the government has been rolling out its vaccination program is very troubling and amounts to an attempt to assassinate established inalienable human and constitutional rights,” the unions said.

The statement said that the unions do not intend to have any conflict with the government. 

“We have an obligation to address the concerns of all members and, in particular, any apparent assault of their rights.  After intense deliberations, the unions stand resolute that the government’s position is unreasonable, arbitrary and an infringement on the rights of public servants.   

“For the record, categorically, we are not against vaccination and testing. As a matter of fact, we have advised our members to exercise their constitutional right to conscience, belief and thought.  Furthermore, where there is any doubt they must use objective information to inform their consent or rejection of vaccination and or testing.”

Meanwhile, head of the Teachers’ Union Oswald Robinson did not comment on the memo when iWitness News contacted him Wednesday evening.

He said he had just seen the document and did not want to comment as yet as the unions were planning to call an “urgent press conference” if the meeting proposed for Friday does not take place.

In the joint statement, the unions said that they are not opposed to vaccination and have encouraged their members who have so decided, to take the jab.

They, however, expressed concern about the manner in which the government was going about the programme.

Last week, Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday restated his New Democratic 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, who has taken the jab, told a press conference 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,” he said.

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9 replies on “Gov’t, unions heading for ‘face off’ over vaccination policy?”

  1. In my opinion:
    It is very sad that the government of Saint Vincent feels it has to enact draconian/ authoritative measures to force the people into following their agenda under the guise that they are keeping us safe and healthy when that is clearly not the case. Even if you do get vaccinated, does it mean you have to continue to get vaccinated every three months because that is the length of time the vaccine is supposed to be effective? Undeniably, soon after getting vaccinated you are a carrier of the sickness, A SUPER-SPREADER! However, if your body encounters the virus naturally, and you either are symptomatic or not, your body begins to create its’ own antibodies to fight the invader. YOUR SYSTEM IS THE BEST VACCINE FACTORY YOU HAVE, not Pfizer or any other factory that has “who knows what” in the vaccines.
    https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-03-31-pfizer-targeting-teenage-girls-population-reduction-mrna-vaccines.html?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com&utm_campaign=dbr

    The government should respect people’s freedom, to include the freedom to choose instead of creating punishments for those that do not do as they they “DICTATE”. i am also fed-up with many governments all over the world, IN BED WITH BIG PHARMA $$$ (especially where I live, SVG) ignoring true science and now known facts about the virus and instead instituting FEAR, FAKE SCIENCE, DOCTORED FAKE EVIDENCE, ETC… JUST SO THEY CAN PUSH THEIR VARIOUS MISINFORMATION AGENDA(S). SHAME, SHAME SHAME!

  2. The vaccine does not confers immunity. It however reduces the severity of symptoms of contracted. So should the Government be advising persons to be tested for the antibodies?

  3. This matter requires dialogue and a more broard approach to dealing with a pandemic that is not of our making

    If persons want to be vaccinated let them do so

    No one should be forced to put any medication into their system if they are not convinced of its effectiveness and safety

    The word is still out on the ability of the vaccines to effectively cures the virus however if people feel comfortable with taking them let them take the “jab”

    Have our medical community explore other preventative and cures options or are we just marching to the beat of the drum?

    Seem to me as if we are not putting our education and resources on other cure options on this very serious matter.

    The economy is impacted no doubt but who runs the economy?

    What is happening in other countries on the matter of vaccinations are we paying attention?

  4. The union will loose because the PM is doing the right thing or at least he’s saying it. Teachers should get tested everyday, children too and all public sector workers, but who is going to pay for that?. So far we still at Defcon 5. But if you don’t have a handle on things it will be hard to manage i.e in the general interest. We got to learn to love one another and look out for our countrymen & countrywomen otherwise the road ahead will be tricky. Nobody in the Caribbean has died from corvid 19 vaccines as far as I know. So what are they basing their arguments on? Moral objections? Now, that is a good joke.

    1. Some say that there are very many in the Caribbean that have died of the vaccines. I know of two people in SVG that died days after they got vaccinated. The Department of Health says it was not from the vaccine. We have all seen that when a person with a pre-existing condition gets a sickness and they have FLU-LIKE symptoms, our Health Department has ruled the deaths as Covid-19.
      Do you see a pattern?
      Even in the HEAVILY CENSORED Corporate News there have been reports of many instances to increase the amount of deaths reported to be attributed to Covid-19.

      Obviously they are doing the opposite when it comes to vaccines!!!

    2. the trouble is that people have become so fed up with papa that they will do the opposite of anything he says even when he speaks the truth.

  5. How can public servants allow a minority Government to behave like this. This government is not a people’s government it’s a constitutional one. The people of ST vincent and the Grenadines have rejected the ULP. And by doing so rejected the Prime Minister and his son. And don’t forget if it was not for the medical students from overseas he would not of won his seat. So you see vincentian did not elect the finance minister. So the ULP is one big rejected family and they are playing very stupid with people’s personal life decisions. You continue down this path there can be consequences.

    1. Avatar Of Concerned CitizenConcerned Citizen says:

      It cannot be denied that your words have merit. What is obvious is that governments worldwide get rewards for the more they can get vaccinated. The World Bank, IMF and other institutions have made it known that if governments do not get large numbers vaccinated the country can be cut-off from loans, and they are told: THE MORE RESTRICTIONS YOU PUT ON YOUR PEOPLE THE GREATER THE REWARDS!

      These facts have been stated by a handful of INDEPENDENT AND STRONG leaders, to include the LATE GREAT leader of Tanzania!
      Too bad our “5-Star General, World Boss narcissist” leader is TOO WEAK and DEPENDENT to do more than fake as if he knows what he is doing as he follows the “Great Reset”. To know the difference, just look at the state of our roads and all the vendors on the streets of Kingstown. Our leaders (father and son) instead spend their time writing books about themselves and their greatness as Rome burns.

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