Antigua Chamber urges respect for human rights in vaccination programme

The executive director of the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce, Martin Cave, says the human rights of nationals should be respected as the island moves towards vaccinating people in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic here.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told radio listeners of the possibility of implementing a mandatory vaccination programme as he criticised people who were encouraging others not to participate in the national vaccination programme.

“This is not a threat,” Browne said, adding that the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the socio-economic development of the island since the first case was diagnosed here last March.

The government has also said it had reached a collaboration with a private company to provide EC$50 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) to persons who receive their first jab.

Cave said that while business is supportive of the efforts by the government to get people vaccinated the goal of attaining herd immunity must be reached without infringing on the rights of the population.

“There this dichotomy, this conflict, because obviously the Chamber of Commerce, like any responsible business collective, would wish to have the economy bounce back as quickly and as robustly as possible.

“And by robust we want to have just not a quick comeback for business or business opportunities, but we want to do so in a resilient way. So, obviously, the quicker the population can be [free] of the risks from COVID–19, the better for us.

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