Mandatory vaccination — a sugar-coated lemonMonday, September 27, 2021
Mandatory vaccinations might appear to be a bold step in the right direction for many, but it really might just be the shoe that scatters the anthill.
While several Jamaicans welcome the concept of being vaccinated, others have refused on merit of their own personal beliefs.
If vaccination becomes mandatory in the workplace, then those who refuse to take the jab would automatically be rendered unemployed, and this, quite frankly, might spell trouble for the Jamaican society.
The Ministry of Health has, for the most part, implemented quite a few of the requisite COVID-19 protocols within places of work. These include the wearing of masks, constant sanitisation of workspaces during work hours, and strict maintenance of physical distancing. In most, if not all businesses, these practices are mandatory, and I believe these are very reasonable requirements.
In addition, there are also fines allocated for breaches of these protocols within the public space, under the Disaster Risk Management Act, which is a great reinforcing measure to flatten the curve.
However, it is quite excessive to mandate that people take vaccines as this is a much more complex issue than the wearing of masks, for example. If a person becomes severly ill or dies as a result of being vaccinated there is no legal redress. Will the Government or employer compensate such an individual?
When people are dismissed from their jobs on the basis of being unvaccinated the harsh economic climate and the need for sustenance may very well cause them to become frustrated and equally desperate. Frustrated people may, in turn, become nuisances to society. Both petty and white-collar crimes may dramatically increase if vaccination is mandated.
Another fact is that vaccinated people may still transmit the virus within the workplace as the vaccine does not prevent one from contracting the novel coronavirus or any of its variants. This means that the main purpose of the vaccine is to give an individual a greater fighting chance because, whether you are vaccinated or not, you are still susceptible to contracting the virus. As such, individuals should be allowed to decide if they want to have that fighting chance.
Although there are no laws preventing employers from dismissing staff on the grounds of being unvaccinated, this should not be a green light to mandate vaccation within the workplace.
Mandatory vaccination is a set-up for even more societal complications.