Prime Minister Andrew Holness says a new vaccination policy is to be implemented in Jamaica after the government completes its public education campaign this month.
The warning comes as several influential groups, like the Private Sector Organization, and scores of businesses have begun to implement or push for vaccine mandates.
Holness said that Jamaicans have given a clear indication that they are frustrated with the current COVID-19 measures, which include curfews and lockdowns. He said that the country cannot continue on its current path and the government will soon have to change the way it goes about implementing measures.
“We will respect people’s rights and the process before we do anything, but we can’t continue like this for much longer; our children must go back to school. They have suffered the most, and so there will come a time when we will have to insist upon persons taking the vaccines,” he said.
Continuing, he said “We have done several tours now, we have not yet covered all the country, (as) there are still a few parishes, a few constituencies that I have to go. We are doing three days a week, sometimes two, and we will eventually cover the country, and eventually after we have done that, we will announce the policies which you know we are already in the process of deliberating, trying to refine them to make sure that they make sense and they work, and when that time comes, you who are vaccinated, you will be fine.”
The Prime Minister said that he is aware that a significant percentage of the population is still hesitant about taking the vaccine, and said that the government is anticipating some backlash to come from a vaccination policy.
Holness said that it is not the government’s intention to discard unvaccinated residents, but rather, to strike a balance in society.
In addition, Prime Minister Holness acknowledged that in the past, vaccines saved societies from being destroyed and now, the country is at the point where the virus has impacted the way of life. He says it should be understood that if citizens don’t take the vaccine, the country will not return to normal.