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Is GOB Looking to Explore Mandatory Vaccine Policies?

The government continues to explore all necessary legal measures it can use to lawfully implement mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for both the public and private sectors. The idea, according to Cabinet, is to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Prime Minister John Briceno says that his government is also exploring the option to require vaccination passes for the use of public spaces and business facilities. Senior Reporter Hipolito Novelo reports.

The number COVID cases continues to rise- almost a hundred cases were recorded on Tuesday with three COVID-19 related deaths. More than seven hundred cases remain active. There is an explosion of COVID cases in Belize City. The rapid increase of cases is not only attributed to the variants of concerns like Delta and Lambda but to the public’s refusal to follow regulations. 

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We need to let people understand it is their reckless behavior that is causing the problems that we’ve had. As a government we have invested millions of dollars to try to contain COVID but if you don’t do your part we can’t do it all.”

COVID hospitalizations have also increased. There are 11 active hospitalizations with four ICU admissions. 

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “The people that are getting sick are people that are unvaccinated. My driver got sick with COVID but he had to stay at home but all he had was like a fresh cold but except it wasn’t a fresh cold. He said he lost a little bit of his scent but he’s regaining it but he was vaccinated. If he wasn’t vaccinated he probably would have ended up in hospital. Of those people that are there, of the people that had died it’s over 340 persons have died and all of those people died because they were not vaccinated. You want to live, you want to protect your loved ones, get vaccinated and dying from COVID I think it’s one of the worst deaths because you are isolated, your loved ones can’t come around you, they can’t hold your hand, they can’t talk to you in those dying moments. And if it’s only for that reason I’m appealing to people get vaccinated. Our economy is rebounding. We’re starting to see the growth but we can’t shut down and the only way we can do that is that people be more responsible and also get vaccinated.”

So far, more than a hundred and fifty persons have received their first dose of the vaccine. Of that number, more than sixty-two thousand persons have been fully vaccinated. That’s about thirty-four percent of the targeted population set to achieve heard immunity. 

Government is currently exploring legal avenues to implement mandatory vaccination. Prime Minister John Briceno says it’s nothing new.  He says it’s for the greater good. 

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Every parent in this country knows that legally they have to take their children to be vaccinated against Polio and I think Chickenpox and Rubella and a number of vaccinations that is enshrined in the law. So we’re going to do nothing new should we go down that road. We’re not saying we’re going down that road but also as a government we also have to whilst you have your personal right we also have to look at the greater good of the country.”

And if that means that an unvaccinated person is denied access to public spaces and services then so be it. 

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We’re in the midst of a pandemic and a virus that is spreading easily and rapidly and get people very sick and kill a lot of people and as a government I think that we can make that decision should we get to that point where we will be mandating vaccinations against COVID. But there’s another way that it can be done and simply that if you’re not vaccinated then you don’t have access to public transportation or going to the stores and those kinds of stuff so you decide. So there are different ways how we can achieve that but most importantly I think we need to encourage people, get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. The people that get sick in the hospital and that are dying are people that are not vaccinated. You don’t want that to happen to you? Get vaccinated and between now and then keep your distance, wash your hand, wear a mask.”

Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.