Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says he does not believe legislating a mandatory vaccination policy for Grenada will help curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) and urged stakeholders, including the media, the private sector and trade unions to do more to get people to voluntarily accept vaccinations.
Grenada has since March last year, recorded 200 deaths and 5, 873 positive cases linked to the virus and Mitchell said people with influence, such as sporting icons and artists should lend their voice to the campaign.
“I believe that will be the best approach. People have been telling me to go to parliament and to force people (to get vaccinated). To tell you the truth if I thought that could work I would do it because I have no problem with it,” Mitchell said during a live new two-hour “conversation” with selected local journalists on Sunday.
He said in terms of whether or not that approach would be legal that would not have been a problem for his administration” because that has proven. The regional legal authorities have given us the green light in this matter.
“But I am not convinced it will work. If anything, you might get more resistance. What do you do? Put a bunch of 5,000 people who refuse to take the vaccine, put them in jail. What’s the point? If you are going to do something, you want to do something to achieve a result,” he said, adding that the measure should not be to ‘show that I have power and I could demand or command you to do this. People will just laugh at you”.
Mitchell said more people here should get involved in getting persons vaccinated adding that anyone entering this country would believe that “this is a government thing for government interest.
“I don’t believe as a country we have taken our responsibilities as serious as it is. I honestly believe the media could do a lot if anything, some parts of the media could be said to be guilty of doing the opposite.
“When I listen to certain things on certain stations it baffles me as if we don’t realise it is not about (the ruling) NNP (New National Party), it is not about the Prime Minister, it is not even about the Opposition Leader. It is about life and death and all of us should be on that wavelength.”
Mitchell said that the country has a ‘serious problem” saying “I have not heard enough (of the) business community speaking. Where are they? Is it the government that’s going to benefit directly when the businesses expand and the country is free up and more activities (take place)? The business sector has a lot to gain”.
He said while the government would receive taxes based on the improvement in the economy, he is also concerned about the silence of the local medical association.
“I hope people don’t get vex with me when I say this, to me I can only speak the truth. Where are they, where are the voices?…and then you have elements within them who are telling people they are not taking it and that’s a fact.
‘We have a problem there,” Mitchell said, adding also “I have not heard the trade union movement as a body come out and tell their workers you must get vaccinated”.