UPP will not accept blame for vaccine hesitancy

United Progressive Party Chairperson D. Gisele Isaac (file photo).
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By Makeida Antonio

The United Progressive Party (UPP) has said that it will not claim responsibility for vaccine hesitancy in Antigua and Barbuda.

UPP Chairperson, D Gisele Isaac, says the party cannot be blamed for not playing a stronger role in the national effort to get citizens to herd immunity.

“When you are told early in the game to butt out, what do you do but butt out? What do you do but go your own way, and do what you can? I’m reminded by somebody else, sister Cleon Athill, that she had a forum maybe last week Thursday with Dr. Robins by Zoom, and I attended that. Dr. Robins’ folks were able to give their opinions, ask their questions, and so on, in the constituencies; in their personal spheres of influence, our people are doing what they can,” Isaac said on Observer AM yesterday.

When asked what the UPP would do differently in the management of the pandemic, she said, “I don’t know. I don’t want to say yes or no, because as I said, it’s very fluid; we would have handled it differently since the beginning, and so I don’t believe that it would’ve come to this.”

The opposition party has taken the position that the country’s medical professionals should be at the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 virus, with politicians remaining in the background.

“First of all, we would not have been on the frontline as politicians, and secondly, we would have gone after the public education campaign in a more persuasive manner. I think fewer people would’ve had their backs up, and we would’ve gotten to herd immunity, which is the desired thing,” said the party chairperson.

UPP maintains its stance that the vaccine ought not to be mandatory, but rather a decision best left to the individual.

“We are encouraging them to do what’s best for themselves and others, and we endorse vaccinations as the best route to do that. It’s not a foolproof route, so we endorse the vaccination campaign, and for those who will not be vaccinated, we recognize people may not be vaccinated for religious purposes, for health purposes and some are downright scared.”

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