By Shermain Bique-Charles
July 16 has been marked as the date the first large-scale entertainment event could legally be held in Antigua and Barbuda since the coronavirus reached the country in March last year.
However, unlike other events in the past, there is one major stipulation that will determine attendance – full vaccination against Covid-19.
The government announced last week that, following discussions with promoters, a framework will be developed that will see such events restricted to persons who have been fully inoculated.
Many have since weighed in on the issue, and Observer spoke to a group of young professionals who shared their views.
“I don’t believe making the events exclusive to people who have been vaccinated is the right approach; it’s borderline discriminatory. But if you are a person who wants to be going out to these events, it would be wise to get vaccinated,” one young lady said.
Another young woman described the decision as like being forced to get a tattoo without having ample time to see if they like the design.
“It is discriminatory. It is interesting though that there has been no or little talk about how residents can boost their immune system naturally.
“Instead, we must risk potential long-term side effects as well as a potential financial burden that may come as a result of the side effects,” she said.
The young people also questioned whether the government wants to be in the position of policing the private, medical and religious decisions of its people.
Interestingly, another young woman interviewed said it is too soon to allow these huge events, saying that the government should wait at least another year.
“Being vaccinated doesn’t mean you cannot catch it or get sick. It just means that you are less likely to be hospitalised,” she said.
One young man interviewed however was all for the latest decision. He said the move is not bribery because people have a choice about where they want to go.
“You wanna go outside, you have to be vaccinated – so if we have an event where only vaccinated people can go, then here you go,” he said.