Covid-19 vaccination will not be mandatory in Antigua and Barbuda

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Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph has insisted that the use of any vaccine to treat the Covid-19 virus will be optional.

He gave that assurance on Saturday as he addressed the congregation of the Bible Speaks Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The minister acknowledged that members of the Seventh-Day Adventist faith and several others will face a difficult decision regarding the administration of the vaccine.

He said that while many people remain apprehensive, they should ensure they are armed with the right information.

“This has caused many discussions and concerns, and I want to offer you the opportunity, in addition today and at a more appropriate time, to offer you the necessary information because vaccines will not be compulsory in Antigua, it will be voluntary, but for you to make a decision, you must be armed with the correct information. 

“I have made a commitment to myself that as the minister responsible that I will ensure the widest and deepest consultation and dissemination of information to the people of Antigua and Barbuda so that they can make a wise decision in their own interest, and if you are a nurse or a doctor, you would know easily that 99 percent, perhaps 100 percent of the people in this church today have been vaccinated at some point in their lives. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) is given to all children in Antigua and Barbuda,” Joseph said.

So far, government has paid nearly US$1million to receive a portion of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to ensure that enough are available for the entire nation.

Weeks ago, Prime Minister Gaston Browne committed to becoming the first person in the country to take the vaccine when it arrives here.

He hopes this will encourage the public not to be fearful. 

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