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Governments forcing their citizens to take a COVID-19 vaccine is tantamount to rape.

It’s a view shared by President of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT), Dr Garth Anderson, at the Joint Trade Union Movement’s webinar on Mandatory Vaccination and its Implication for Workers in the Workplace, this morning.

Anderson says some Caribbean governments force people to take a drug without their consent, and CUT does not support this.

CUT wrote to CARICOM and several Caribbean governments, stating it supports COVID-19 vaccination as a tool to fight the pandemic. However, it equally recognises teachers’ rights to determine what goes into their own bodies.

Anderson said that based on what the world is witnessing in parts of Europe, some Caribbean governments now operate like dictators. He questioned if forcing vaccinations was the best way for compliance as vaccine hesitancy grew. CUT believes that governments should educate and encourage people and incentivise vaccinations.

If Caribbean citizens allow the government to take away their right to choose, it might just be the start of them losing others.

Marcio Monzane, regional secretary for UNI Americas, believes that trade unions should campaign for vaccination. However, UNI Americas stood against employers terminating workers if they do not take a vaccine.

Monzane said that while some employers were doing this, unions were not seeing replacements in the workplace. He said UNI Americas also see that employers use vaccination to promote retrenchment.