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Moultrie calls incentives for fully vaccinated people ‘discriminatory’

The government’s decision to offer incentives to fully vaccinated individuals is “discriminatory”, according to Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie, who said yesterday that the government should not introduce programs to persuade individuals to get vaccinated or “suffer the consequences”.

“The government continues to say that it is a personal decision but the policies don’t reflect that they accept that it is a personal decision,” Moultrie said while appearing as a guest on “The Hit Back with Nahaja Black” on Guardian Radio 96.9.

He said the “discriminatory incentives” are there “to persuade persons to get vaccinated”.

“Let me tell you the issue I have with vaccination,” he said.

“The issue that I have with vaccination is that someone should be prepared to accept liability in this process.

“If you are telling me that I should take something that is untested that could perhaps affect me and give me certain side effects, the manufacturers can’t be exempt from liability.”

He noted that distributors, institutions and professionals administering COVID-19 vaccines are also exempt from liability.

“So, I believe that persons should make a personal decision on it and that the government should not be putting programs in place, and discriminatory measures in place, to persuade persons to get vaccinated and that if they don’t, they will suffer the consequences,” he said.

“I just don’t accept that as sound medical practice.”

In March, The Bahamas started administering the vaccine.

Seventy-five thousand, two hundred and forty-six doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were administered as of June 19, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of that figure, more than 25,000 were second doses.

On June 11, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a vaccination day where fully vaccinated individuals can enjoy activities that are currently prohibited, including happy hours at restaurants and bars.

On Monday, he said that a date had not been determined for vaccination day.

“I envision that this will take place once health officials determine that a sufficient number of the eligible population has been vaccinated,” Minnis said.

He said fully vaccinated people may take part in private gatherings, both in their homes and elsewhere, so long as everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated.

Wedding receptions are also permitted on New Providence and Grand Bahama, provided that all attendees are fully vaccinated.

The hosts of wedding receptions, private gatherings and other social events will be responsible for verifying that guests are fully vaccinated.

“Hosts and guests will be subject to fines for non-compliance,” the prime minister said.

“COVID-19 ambassadors will continue to carry out patrols to reinforce adherence to emergency orders.”

Minnis also announced entertainment groups and artists, including bands, Junkanoo groups, dance troupes and acting groups, may perform at activities permitted under the emergency order, provided that all performers are fully vaccinated.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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