(CMR) Several Caribbean countries are now considering mandatory vaccination as they continue to struggle with the coronavirus and a low takeup of COVID-19 vaccines.
Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall has been tasked with providing the Government with a legal opinion on the criminal and civil liability associated with mandatory COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley said that advice should be ready this week and would be followed by a series of consultations on the way forward.
“We have agreed that the attorney general will prepare or have prepared a legal opinion looking at both civil and criminal liability with respect to aspects of mandatory vaccinations and mandatory testing, or failure thereto, and the consequences of engaging in a way that may cause harm to others,” she said.
“We expect that that opinion will be made available to us on or before August 6 and that that would then trigger a process that would involve both sectoral and national consultations in the ensuing weeks.”
In the meantime, Guyana’s Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, said the Government would decide on the matter of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in due course.
Last week, he told reporters that places offering public service with unvaccinated staff are putting coworkers and the general public at risk of contracting the virus.
Several private organizations have already asked that their staff be vaccinated or be prepared to take weekly COVID-19 tests.
“That's …one way of… encouraging a safe environment. We are looking at what is evolving from an epidemiological point of view, and we will take all the necessary steps to ensure that people are protected,” Dr. Anthony said.
To date, 51.1 percent of the adult population has received their first dose of the vaccine, while 27.5 percent have been fully vaccinated.