PM: No move towards mandatory covid19 vaccination

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Yohann Sirju is getting his first dose of covid 19 vaccine at the drive through Hasely Crawford Stadium. Photo by Sureash Cholai

GOVERNMENT is no longer pursuing legislation that could be viewed as making covid19 vaccination mandatory for public-sector workers.

The Prime Minister made this comment in response to a question from Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal in the House of Representatives on Friday.

Minutes before responding to Moonilal, Dr Rowley announced the relaxation of some covid19 measures which have been in effect since the pandemic began on March 11, 2020.

When Rowley concluded his statement, Moonilal asked if this meant Government was no longer pursuing any policy which could be interpreted as mandatory covid19 vaccination.

Rowley said he had addressed that issue in his speech. Based on factors such as the omicron covid19 variant not being as severe as other variants (despite being highly transmissible) and approximately 50 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated, he said, “We have placed hold on drastic actions, because circumstances have changed drastically between mid-December (2021) and March (2022).”

In December, Rowley warned that public-sector workers who chose not to be vaccinated for non-medical reasons would be furloughed on January 17. At that time, he indicated that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was looking at legislation to create covid19 public-sector safe zones.

At a news conference on January 15, Rowley extended that deadline to February 17. That deadline came and passed without any public-sector safe-zone legislation being introduced.

Al-Rawi was at Friday’s sitting of the House. In a statement on February 21, his ministry said Al-Rawi had contracted covid19 but would continue to work in quarantine.

The AG said he had kept his Cabinet and Cabinet-related appointments virtually, while he was in quarantine.

Newsday was reliably informed that Al-Rawi’s quarantine ended on Thursday and he received a negative PCR test on that day.