“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” – Author Unknown
Some Governments including the Turks and Caicos Islands Government may say it is not mandatory for individuals to take the COVID 19 vaccine but the truth is people are being forced to take the vaccine. No one should be forced to take the COVID 19 vaccine. However, I do believe that constant education about the COVID 19 vaccine should be the way forward. Once is public is educated about the vaccine, then they should have a choice as to whether or not they want to take the vaccine. Of course, there are so much information and misinformation about the COVID 19 vaccine that people are indecisive about taking the vaccine.
This article is not to dissuade people from taking the vaccine. After all, I took the vaccine. This article is to so say that taking the COVID 19 vaccine should be a personal choice.
How is it being forced in TCI?
- Work permit holders who are not vaccinated will be denied the renewal of their work permits. I think this is unfair and is full of hypocrisy. Currently, work permit holders are required to do a medical including an HIV test but yet we renew work permit holders who are HIV positive. Many people assume because you are on a work permit you are HIV negative but that is not so. You see the Government does not reject a work permit holder because of their medical condition. Some of them have major other illness and we allowed the approval of the work permits to proceed but now we are forcing individuals to take a vaccine. I believed that individuals should be tested for COVID 19 as a work permit requirement but they should not be forced to take the vaccine. This policy will encouraged more illegals in the country especially those that do not want to take the vaccine.
- Privileges are granted to individuals who are vaccinated. For example employees of a restaurant that are vaccinated, that restaurant can serve more people. Likewise, taxi drivers that are vaccinated can carry more passengers. These privileges in itself will force others to take the vaccine so that they or employers can benefit from the privileges. Employers want to maximum their revenue so they are forcing some of their employees to take the vaccine.
- Civil servants who are not vaccinated will be tested each week. The civil servants will get tired of being tested and so they will be forced to take the vaccine.
Why some people do not want to take the vaccine?
Many people have some valid reasons as to why they do not want to take the vaccine. One of the reasons is spiritual. Some people have a strong faith in God and do not see the need to take the vaccine. Others argue that the vaccine is experimental and is not approved by the FDA. There are incidents of individuals that took the vaccine but still contracted the COVID 19 virus and so some individuals do not see the need to take the vaccine. In addition, individuals are still wearing masks after taking the vaccine. Some people want to wait for a year or so to see what impact the vaccine will have on others. Finally, some people believe that due to the fact that the recovery rate for someone that has COVID 19 is estimated to be 95%, then why do they need to take the vaccine.
What should be done?
- Education is the key. We must continue to educate the public about COVID 19 and the vaccines. If there is any misinformation about COVID 19 and the Vaccines, then the Government and the relevant stakeholders should counteract those statements immediately with the right information.
- While I do not believe in forcing individuals to take the vaccine, I do believe we should have regular testing of individuals so that individuals are aware of their status and they can isolate themselves so they do not spread this deadly virus.
- We should promote health eating lifestyle. It appears that eating healthy is expensive, so make it cheaper for us by reducing the relative duty rates on healthy foods and increasing the rates on unhealthy foods. Partner with our nutritionists and allow them to go the schools, workplace and the community to promote healthy living.
While it is the prerogative of a Government to implement policies as they see fit. The Government should also take responsibility if a policy they implemented created major ill effects for individuals.
I challenge the Government to reverse this policy as it is breach of human rights. When I was chairman of the National Health Board and I suggested to the Government that work permit holders that had major illnesses should be denied a work permit. I was told they could not do that as it was a violation of human rights. Here we are now forcing people to take the Vaccine. Isn’t this a violation of human rights too?
Do not force people to take something they do not want to do or know very little about. If you cannot force the locals to take the vaccine, then why are you forcing work permit holders to take the vaccine? This is discrimination. This will not give us the numbers we need anyway, because there are many locals who are refusing to take the vaccine. Additionally, there are many illegals in the country who will not take the vaccine for fear of being caught by immigration officials. We still face the risk of others contracting the virus.
I believe if you educate people with the right information, they will take the vaccine in time.