Leader of the opposition Lennox Linton is of the view that citizens should have the right to decide whether or not they should be vaccinated, contrary to the statement made by the President of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Savarin, that consideration should be given to making vaccination mandatory to effectively combat COVID-19.
While delivering an address at the first meeting of the second session of the tenth Parliament last week, Savarin noted that Dominica has been struggling to meet the target of 70% to 80% of its adult population being fully vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
He suggested that alternative consideration should be given to making vaccination mandatory, “or at the very least limitations have to be placed with respect to access to certain services regarding persons who refuse to be vaccinated for no legitimate reasons.”
When asked at a recent press conference held by the United Workers Party (UWP), to comment on the President’s statement, Linton responded, “I don’t agree with that. I believe that the people of Dominica and the people around the world are responsible enough about their own health and safety to determine whether they need vaccinations or not in a crisis like this.”
He added, “I don’t believe we should be mandating people to be vaccinated.”
The leader of the parliamentary opposition went on to encourage citizens to protect themselves and their families by doing what is right, but once again stressed, “if people have some reason why they do not want to take vaccinations, that right should be protected.”
Although Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had said earlier this year that by this time the country would have reached herd immunity, he vowed that vaccinations will always be optional and not compulsory.
“We believe if all goes well, that by the end of August we will be able to vaccinate enough of our population to get the level of herd immunity that will make it possible to begin to return to what we may consider a semblance of normality,” he said earlier this year. “We understand that there is a level of vaccine hesitancy among many people, and while this government will never make taking the vaccine mandatory, we, however, will urge as many people as possible to get it when it becomes available.”
As of July 31st, 2021, close to 20, 000 of the estimated 70,000 citizens were fully vaccinated.
Early last month, Turkmenistan became the first country to make vaccination mandatory for all adults. Thus far, 15 other countries have imposed some form of compulsory vaccination on their citizens.