We’ve reported extensively on Statutory Instrument Seventy-four. Coming into effect on Sunday, it is legislation that mandates frontline workers – including teachers, security guards, employees of the courts and call centre workers – to get the COVID-19 jab or produce a negative PCR test result every fortnight. Yesterday, we asked UDP Leader Patrick Faber on his views on it. He is of the opinion that while the freedom of choice should be respected, Government has made the right call.
Patrick Faber, UDP Party Leader: “As I understand it there is no kind of mandating. I mean the mandating comes with options basically which is kinda oxymoronic but we’ll assume that it goes together that they’re mandating you to do one or the other in order to be at the forefront and to me that makes sense. Those persons who communicated that this is a kind of infringement on their rights fail to make the point that you don’t have to take the vaccination, the government gives you an out. You can take your PCR test, you’ll have to do that very regularly and most of us who have taken one of these tests know that it’s very invasive. I wouldn’t want that to be done to me, what is it every two weeks ? And it’s also very costly. But to be clear those persons who are anti the vaccine do have that right in my view and should be afforded that right, it is something that I don’t subscribe to in terms of not taking the vaccine but you have to be respectful of I would hope that everybody would take the vaccine but we have to be respectful of those and I think the government has done well in terms of giving an option and I remind those front line workers that you place people’s lives in danger. You know I have a very good friend who refuses to take the vaccine and he says well the reason why, and this may not be the reason for all the anti vaxxers, but he says that the main reason why he doesn’t take it is because it’s going to affect him sometime down the road medically. My point is well if you don’t take the vaccine you might die tomorrow if one of those strains hit you so I’d prefer to be alive today to live to have some medical problems ten years down the road than to die or to lose any of my loved ones now. But of course as we have always done, we rely on medical professionals who have at least in this country all sung in unison that this vaccine is safe and that it’s something that they should have people take. So I support the vaccine for the record and I encourage all Belizeans to go out and get the vaccine so that we can bring things back to normal.”