Nirvan Maharaj, President General of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union.

Another trade unionist is calling on Government to rethink its position on mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19 for its employees, and is recommending that personal choice be respected.

An official statement issued by President General of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union, Nirvan Maharaj, who has gone on record as being pro-vaccine, says Government should:

“…hold its hand on the implementation of any policy of mandatory vaccination in the Public sector, until it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and not on a balance of probabilities, that the Vaccine will eliminate the virus and stop an individual from contracting and spreading the virus.”

The following is the full text of the statement issued by Mr Maharaj…

The President General of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union Nirvan Maharaj wishes to again emphasise that whilst he is in full support of vaccination and is actively encouraging all persons to become vaccinated, there are several reasons why mandatory vaccination should not be imposed or implemented at this time and as such several questions must be asked:

1.         Is the creation of a safe zone in the Public Sector and the pending amendments to the Public Health Regulations an attempt by the Government to circumvent proper procedure by negating a Parliamentary debate on mandatory vaccination and the need for a three fifths Parliamentary majority?

2.         Will this policy of the creation of a safe zone in the Public sector see the emergence of a line of demarcation between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in the physical acquisition of goods and services from the public sector? In other words, will the unvaccinated be able to physically access these goods and services, if the concept of a safe zone means that both staff and patrons must be vaccinated?

3.         How can the Trade Union Movement engage in proper consultation with and provide recommendations to the Government if it is unaware of the intimate details of any legislation that is going to Parliament, concerning this matter?

RECOMMENDATION:

It is the recommendation of the All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union that the Government hold its hand on the implementation of any policy of mandatory vaccination in the Public sector, until it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and not on a balance of probabilities, that the Vaccine will eliminate the virus and stop an individual from contracting and spreading the virus

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD INSTEAD BUILD PUBLIC TRUST IN THE VACCINE BY:

1.         Giving an undertaking to accept liability, financial and otherwise for any adverse effects on individuals taking the vaccine, example private medical bills, loans and outstanding debts in the event of bread winners of families being negatively affected. This could certainly build confidence and give assurances to individuals, rather than forcing a vaccine on persons.

2.         Continuing the public education drive and encouraging persons to take the vaccine through a mutual partnership with organisations and stakeholders that represent the public.

IT MUST BE REMEMBERED THAT:

There is no empirical evidence to show that any Covid 19 vaccine will prevent an individual from contracting and/or spreading the virus.

Therefore, taking the vaccine is a matter of personal choice determined by one’s desire to give oneself individual protection. It has nothing to do with protecting the external environment outside oneself. Thus, how does the argument of public good arise?

A vaccinated person who becomes complacent could actually spread the Virus faster and wider, than an unvaccinated person who is adhering to all Covid 19 protocols.

What are the criteria to determine that only unvaccinated persons must do a Covid test every two weeks, for example, if both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated could contract and spread the Virus?

Until such time as it is proven that the Covid 19 Vaccine can stop, the contracting and spreading of and eliminate the virus, it remains a question of the vaccine giving personal protection and therefore must be a matter of personal choice.