Prime Minister Andrew Holness says new vaccination policies are to be implemented after the Government completes its public education campaign.
He noted that in the interim, all sections of the population must be exposed to information about the vaccine and given the choice and opportunity to get vaccinated.
“We will respect people’s rights and the process before we do anything, but we can’t continue like this for much longer; our children must go back to school. They have suffered the most, and so there will come a time when we will have to insist upon persons taking the vaccines,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister’s comments came on Thursday (October 7, 2021), during a tour of Vaccination Blitz sites in North Central Clarendon.
In addition, Prime Minister Holness acknowledged that in the past, vaccines saved societies from being destroyed and now, the country is at the point where the virus has impacted the way of life. He says it should be understood that if we don’t take the vaccine, the country will not return to normal.
The Prime Minister said: “Those who don’t take the vaccine remain the host population for the reproduction and mutation of the virus. The consequence of this is that the people who would have taken the vaccine will face the potential of being infected by a mutated version of the virus for which the original vaccine they took would not be as effective.”
In this regard, Prime Minister Holness said that it is unfair for people to want their right not to take the vaccine and move about freely and do as they wish to be respected, while those who are vaccinated endure hardships. As such, he noted that societies with a similar constitutional basis as Jamaica, have recognised this unfairness and have implemented measures to differentiate between those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated.
In the meantime, while many sectors have called on the Government to immediately implement differentiating measures, the Prime Minister says he respects the right and freedom of Jamaicans and believes that there must be a period of reasoning with Jamaicans to ensure they recognise that their freedom is not without obligation and responsibility.