I will get vaccinated to protect those who will not take the jab – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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I will get vaccinated to protect those who will not take the jab

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Extracting Influenza Virus Vaccine
Was it tendered: Susan Jackson, is the Opposition Whip for the One Bermuda Alliance (Photograph supplied)

Vaccine incentives have become a topical debate as Bermuda races to vaccinate the community amidst rising Covid-19 cases and deaths.

The race to vaccinate is increasingly urgent and the possibility of incentives has become the “carrot on a stick” to increase the number of people vaccinated to achieve 70 per cent to 80 per cent “herd immunity”.

However, the possibility of incentives raises some thorny issues such as:

Is the idea of giving something in return for getting the jab discriminatory?

Will Bermuda become a state compromised of the haves and the have nots?

These questions led me to take a deeper look at whether requiring a vaccine passport, let’s say, to travel abroad or to socialise with other vaccinated people outside a household bubble might be against the law?

Following discussions with Scott Pearman, the Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs, and after taking my own deeper dive into our Human Rights Act, I understand the following: If government passed a law to mandate that everyone had to, by law, get a vaccination, then one could argue that it is against their human rights to have their body violated by a forced injection.

This is certainly not the case in Bermuda. Getting vaccinated in Bermuda is a personal choice. Everyone is encouraged to talk to a doctor and make a personal decision to be vaccinated, or not. As a result of that personal decision, preference may be given to those who do get vaccinated over those who don’t get vaccinated. This begs the question “what fundamental human right is being denied”?

Discrimination against one’s human rights typically occurs when there is less favourable treatment on the grounds of a protected characteristic, like race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or age.

In Bermuda, discriminatory whisperings surrounding the vaccine focus on whether a non-vaccinated person may be denied the right to travel, or denied a discount on purchases, or even denied the ability to freely move about the island.

These preferences, more commonly referred to as incentives, are a matter of choice. Yes, they are designed to encourage more people to make the choice to get vaccinated, but this has no bearing on the protected characteristics of a human rights violation. Because a person makes a personal choice not to get vaccinated, it’s that individual’s personal decision, and it may include living with consequences.

If we can encourage more people to get vaccinated, it helps Bermuda to re-open for business. It increases the freedom to socialize and move about the island for all. Remember, Bermuda is striving for herd immunity (70 per cent to 80 per cent vaccinated) and, simply put, this also creates a protective barrier to reduce the risk to those who are not vaccinated.

There are going to be unvaccinated individuals, whether for health or personal reasons, and it’s the vaccinated population who will protect the unvaccinated and reduce the spread of the virus.

It is my personal choice to get vaccinated because I’ll do whatever it takes to protect the vulnerable which in this case, includes the unvaccinated.

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Published April 09, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated April 08, 2021 at 1:29 pm)

I will get vaccinated to protect those who will not take the jab

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