As more and more Bahamian businesses choose to end providing free COVID-19 testing for their employees, Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC, said the logic behind the decision makes no sense.
In recent months, a growing number of employers have notified staff that they will either have to get vaccinated or foot the bill for their own weekly COVID-19 tests.
Munroe said if the issue for employers is liability, stopping weekly testing won’t remove the risk.
“Firstly, getting vaccinated doesn’t prevent you from being infected. To travel to the US, whether you are vaccinated or not, you still need a negative rapid antigen test because they recognize that vaccinated persons can still become infected. So, if as the employer you are protecting against infected people coming into your business, you need to test everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated,” he said while appearing as a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show “The Hit Back with Nahaja Black”.
“So, let us say that you have an outbreak in an institution where everyone is vaccinated and nobody is being tested, surely there is liability there, hey? Because you didn’t test people who could have been affected, you knew they could or you ought to have known they could be infected and you did nothing about it. So, the logic of it makes no sense if they’re speaking from a liability standpoint. But the whole basis of it, I believe, is just collusion to try and coerce persons to try and take a vaccine that is approved for emergency use only.
“And the one that we have is not even approved for emergency use in the US at all. And hasn’t been able for whatever reason to be approved for emergency use in the US, which I find alarming because that’s a big market and big pharma always tries to get into big markets.”
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has said while employers cannot require employees to get vaccinated, they should encourage them to do so. He has said that companies that have vaccinated staff would ensure businesses continue operations should there be a COVID exposure. He further suggested that employees who are not vaccinated should take weekly RT-PCR tests, which cost over $100 each in The Bahamas.
The National Tripartite Council has said it would review the rights of workers as it relates to vaccinations.
Larger companies have taken the route of incentivizing employees with bonuses and benefits if they choose to be inoculated.
As of June 20, more than 79,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in The Bahamas and just over 25,000 residents have been fully vaccinated.