News‘Voice’ newspaper urges PM to revisit decision not to mandate vaccinations

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 202230165 min

Castries, Saint Lucia, September 13, 2021:– Saint Lucia’s leading newspaper, The Voice, urges the Philip J. Pierre administration to urgently revisit its earlier promise not to mandate COVID vaccinations.

In an editorial yesterday, the Weekend Voice urged the administration to rethink its ‘No Mandatory Vaccination’ policy — just in case it needs to go that way, in the national interest.

The editorial, entitled Time to Rethink the No Mandatory Vaccination Policy, argued that the pandemic’ “health and economic impacts” are causing governments worldwide to rethink their strategies on combating the disease… and go down paths they never thought they would have had to tread.”

Citing recent related announcements by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, the editorial argues that such moves are because of “realization by governments that the only way out of the COVID -19 trap is to institute some form of mandatory vaccination.”

The Voice said it’s aware of the Prime Minister’s expressed reluctance to institute a mandatory vaccination policy.

“However,” it added, “we hope this averseness is not etched in stone.”

Citing the rapid increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the Delta variant landed here, it urged government to revisit the decision, if only to keep the option in reserve “as a last resort.”

Arguing that the visible effects of the Delta variant “should inspire the government to rethink its decision”, the Voice offered that mandatory vaccination could, among other things, “prevent inter-district spread, maintain a healthy workforce, improve productivity levels and sustain jobs by not increasing unemployment.”

It said while it expected there would be challenges on medicinal, religious and legal grounds, the government should consider the wider good than individual rights.

According to the editorial, “While we understand there will be legal challenges to a law authorizing mandatory vaccination… we believe a challenge to a law of that nature will not cause a constitutional problem” for the government.

“After all,” is said, “Saint Lucians have, from long ago, been vaccinated against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, influenza meningitis and others.”

The editorial then asked: “Should it be found necessary for the public health or safety that mandatory CIVID-19 vaccination is the way to go, will government continue to hold fast to its no mandatory vaccination policy?

It also argued strongly against those who claim such a law would infringe their personal liberties, saying that ‘real liberty’ should “include the duty to restrain from harming others.”

Citing PM Pierre’s often-repeated commitment to “Follow the Science”, the editorial concluded:

“Perhaps the time has come [for the prime minister] to recognize that the government’s responsibility is not so much following as leading.”

“The science is only one facet of the issue,” it said, adding:

“The economy, education, social intercourse, familial mutual support and sporting activities are all issues of which leadership must be cognizant.”

The Voice therefore urged the new prime minister to: “Please act now, rather than later.” (end)

St. Lucia News Online

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