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Minister of Education says children will not be forced to take COVID-19 vaccines

Education Minister Daryll Matthew (file photo)

By Theresa Goodwin

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Same as for adults, children in Antigua and Barbuda will not be compelled to take the vaccine that is intended to provide some sort of protection against the COVID-19 virus.

Newly appointed Minister of Education Daryll Matthew provided this information during a recent interview with Observer media.

“I don’t know that the government can make it mandatory for anyone, under the current circumstances, to take the vaccine,” he said.

However, he said that his personal belief is that worldwide changes may force many people who are hesitant about taking the vaccine to reconsider their position.

“For example, someone may want to travel to the United States or any other country. I believe at some point in time, we will reach the stage where countries will dictate that you must be vaccinated in order to enter. It happens already with yellow fever and malaria vaccines. I personally believe that COVID-19 will be one of those conditions that will require mandatory vaccines for entry,” Matthew said.

Weeks ago, Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph also stated that the use of any used vaccine to treat COVID-19 in Antigua and Barbuda will be optional.

The minister acknowledged that many people are a bit apprehensive about vaccines and vowed that the ministry will ensure that public is provided with the right information so that they could make informed choices.

The ministry held its first public consultation last week at the Sandals Grande Antiguan Resort and Spa to provide updated information about vaccinations and the importance of it.