Vaccinated people who test positive or COVID-19 should be granted a maximum of five days sick leave, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament, on Tuesday, citing the chief medical officer (CMO).
Gonsalves said he had raised with the CMO, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache a conversation he had on Monday with a private sector person about doctors giving vaccinated COVID-19 infected persons 10 days’ leave to be in quarantine, even if they are unvaccinated.
“And this morning, a deputy principal contacted me to indicate that she had contracted COVID and that she was also given 10 days.”
The prime minister said that Keizer-Beache said that while some doctors were giving 10 days leave,“ that is against the advice and the protocols laid out by the chief medical officer and the medical officer of health — well, the Health Services Subcommittee of NEMO, that if, in fact, you are fully vaccinated, and you’re tested positive for COVID, there is no requirement for more than five days.”
The prime minister said the situation is different if one is unvaccinated. “And she said she’d want to make that plain,” he said, referring to the CMO.
“And because I think that a simple matter like that can correct a lot of absenteeism and some persons wanting to take more time off than they necessarily should. I’m quite sure it’s just a matter of misunderstanding with those particular protocols. There’s so many of them, Madam Speaker, and so many guidelines.”
Gonsalves said that a member of the management of the Bank of St. Vincent and Grenadines spoke to him on Monday saying he had evidence that COVID-19 vaccines work.
“He said because last year at this time, when we didn’t have the vaccine and persons were tested positive, it took several of his workers seven, eight weeks to return to work.”
However, vaccinated workers are now returning to work three and five days after testing positive, the prime minister said, quoting the bank executive.
“… because the impact is far less severe. And that though the Omicron which is operating in a way by stealth, not as serious it appears, but we have to be mindful of the transmission and to control it — the spread and restrict the spread,” he said.
Gonsalves was speaking on a day that his son, Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, as well as his cousin, Urban Development Minister, Senator Julian Francis tested positive for COVID-19.
On the weekend, Agriculture Minister Sabato Caesar as well as Minister of Education, Curtis King also received positive COVID-19 results.
All four ministers are fully vaccinated and two of them were scheduled to receive booster shots in the coming weeks, according to the prime minister.