Teachers in St Vincent and the Grenadines have received their response from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves with respect to the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing policy.
During the Round Table Talk programme last night, Gonsalves said from today teachers should take the opportunity to visit their clinic and either be tested for COVID-19 or take the vaccine.
When teachers return to school on April 12, they will be required to show proof to the school principal that they have been tested or vaccinated. If not, teachers will be asked to leave the school compound until they do.
The prime minister said Ministry of Health personnel will also be available to test at schools.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has 1,800 teachers of which 331 have so far taken the vaccine, 17 per cent, a figure which Gonsalves said is not enough.
The vaccine is not mandatory in St Vincent and the Grenadines. According to the government’s official policy on the testing and vaccination of public service employees, while vaccination is strongly recommended, it is not mandatory for public sector workers.
However, in order to safeguard the health and safety of all persons in the workplace it is a requirement that workers who have not received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine be tested on a regular basis for COVID-19 infection up to once every two weeks. This is based on a relative level of risks as determined by the health authorities.
Over the weekend the Public Service Union, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), and the Police Welfare Association (PWA), all objected to this policy which they view as the subtle mandatory vaccination and testing of workers.