PM Gonsalves: Govt plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for teachers

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St Vincent and the Grenadines: The government is planning to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for the teachers in order to continue for their jobs.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves noted that his administration is planning to put teachers, air and seaport workers in the category of frontline workers, as many of these have not been vaccinated yet.

Related to the question of vaccinating the teachers, PM stated that, “Of course, if you are vaccinated, your risk of getting COVID-19 is reduced immensely and of you giving it to people is also reduced. But if the teachers want that and the medical authorities support it, I will go along with it.”

Prime Minister cited that, “During this period, I must tell you, I have received a lot of messages, people have telephoned me, stating that we must put in the upcoming regulations (that are very soon to be approved) teachers as those who must be considered as frontline workers, just like how we believe nurses and doctors and police and prison officers.”

PM Gonsalves outlined that the government’s position regarding teachers and vaccination is the same as it was before La Soufriere erupted explosively in the month of April this year.

He further noted that students were likely to return back to their classrooms by 12 April but La Soufriere volcanic eruption 3 days prior delayed the plan. Before reverting to the classroom, teachers were expected to show their COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test at least once every two weeks.

Following the statement, he noted that “The parents are demanding it as well as teachers. In that case, I mean, it may well be that on Wednesday, the Cabinet may decide that in light of the uptick and what is happening that teachers be included as frontline workers.”

Prime Minister further mentioned that they are not sure when the schools will be re-opened and students will return back to face-to-face classes.