TML head encourages staff, members to take covid19 shots

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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Trinidad Muslim League (TML) president Farz Khan has defended the board’s covid19 policy, emphasising that vaccinated people have better chances of not contracting the virus than the unvaccinated.

“We (the TML board) have not made it a policy that staff members must be vaccinated to continue working with us. We encourage them to take the vaccine. We do not force them,” Khan told Newsday by phone on Friday.

“The Government has not passed any legislation to mandate anyone to take the vaccine. We would not make the vaccine a mandatory requirement for our staff, be it our teachers or janitors.”

On Wednesday, social activist Umar Abdullah and supporters from several NGOs accused the board of “forcing” staffers at San Fernando TML primary school to take the vaccine to be allowed to work on the premises.

“Neither the principal nor school board of management gave instructions to the security officers to debar anyone from entering the compound. There seems to be a perception that it is mandatory at the school,” Khan said. “If mandatory vaccine becomes law, then we would be obligated to abide by the law of the land. We have been encouraging staff at our three primary schools, the kindergarten, and our congregation to get vaccinated.” Khan said TML, like many other Islamic organisations locally and internationally, sees vaccination as a measure of protection against the virus. “Based on science and Islamic principles, we take a pro-vaccine stance. Obviously, there are risks of any vaccines,” Khan said. “Some people have real concerns based on adverse events and adverse reactions from the vaccine.”

He said such views are based on reports from different scientific and medical journals.

“Yes, there is a possibility of severe and adverse effects. But by and large, those cases have been minimal.”

Khan said the organisation reminds members regularly to take the vaccine and the majority of TML members had done so.

“Only a few were undecided, and some did not take it for medical reasons. By and large, I think the majority would have taken it.”

He said TML management would continue liaising with staff about the vaccine.