Prime Minister Hon Allen Chastanet has reacted to Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua’s declaration that Antiguans may be forced by their government to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Said Browne on his weekend radio programme, “This type of hesitancy and reluctance to get vaccinated is just totally unacceptable. I mean we have been trying to avoid introducing any mandatory requirements for vaccinations, but I want to signal here, if we have to do it we will do so.”
Browne continued, “It is going to be an inescapable fact that our people have no choice but to get vaccinated, they either do so voluntarily to protect lives and livelihoods or be forced to do so.”
Prime Minister Chastanet reacted saying, “We’ve not reached that point yet. We’re still asking people on a voluntary basis to take the vaccine. We think that that’s a personal choice that people have to make.
But the reality is that once the government is satisfied that the vaccine is readily available and that we’ve promoted it and given everybody the opportunity to get the right information, we do have to open up the economy at some point.”
Chastanet pointed to The Bahamas, saying vaccinated persons no longer need to have a negative PCR test nor do they need to be quarantined when they come in.
“The reality is, is that the world is going to reopen and we would have to fully open our borders at some point,” Chastanet said, noting that we are not close to that point as yet.
“So I am encouraging all St Lucians to protect yourself, protect your family and help us recover our economy and please get vaccinated. I think there is enough information to dispel any negativity that’s been out there. I’m certainly not going to say that there’s no risk to anything, but the risk is extremely minimal and we’ve had millions of persons who’ve been vaccinated, so there is a lot of statistics available to determine the safety of the vaccines,” the prime minister said.