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Editorial: The Debate Over Mandatory Vaccination

Should vaccination be mandatory?

That was a possibility raised for healthcare workers on Friday, with Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan saying that it is under consideration.

Nursing union chief Dr Amancha Williams was quick in her response, saying: “I disagree with Dr McMillan 100 percent.”

There’s no room for middle ground in that debate, it seems.

Ms Williams said vaccinations could not be made mandatory because vaccinations are not being imposed on other medical professionals anywhere else in the world.

She said: “In the United States, hospitals with 5,000 workers don’t have all of their workers vaccinated. You think they’re firing them? No, they’re asking them to take precautions (like) wear your mask and wash your hands with soap and they’re telling them if they have any issues don’t come to work.”

However, last week, the American Hospital Association called for all health workers to be vaccinated, saying: “The AHA also supports hospitals and health systems that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care personnel.”

The dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health even argued in a Washington Post opinion article that the Hippocratic oath taken by medical personnel “demands” that health workers get vaccinated.

New York City is requiring all health care workers at city-run hospitals or clinics to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, while Arizona health business Banner Health announced last week it would impose a mandate. Trinity Health, a Catholic system in 22 states, earlier this month became one of the first major groups to decide it would mandate innoculations.

The examples go on, but it’s clear – this isn’t just an issue we’re wrestling with here at home. It’s also not a new discussion – several US health organisations have required the flu vaccine for years, as well as other vaccinations.

Hospital leaders themselves worry about the possibility of unvaccinated members of staff spreading the infection, possibly to some of the sickest patients in their care, and there are questions about who should look after those patients who might have suppressed immune systems or who are especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID. Is it fair to the staff who are vaccinated, for example, to have to be moved to cover areas of the hospital so unvaccinated staff will only deal with those who are less vulnerable?

In the midst of all this, we have Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis preparing for another national address on how to tackle the increasing spread of COVID-19 that we are facing right here, right now.

These aren’t philosophical questions about how to handle this – this is a matter staff are having to deal with right now, in hospitals that are bursting at the seams with COVID patients.

Dr Minnis seems set on a course that doesn’t involve limiting the economy’s bounce back – or curtailing the habits of visitors to our country. How to do that while also limiting the spread of the virus is a challenge that is far from easy to meet.

Just as he has to win the hearts and minds of the public to play their part in the fight against the virus, so too do health leaders need to win over the workers who care for patients. The vaccination is the best way forward – but not everyone is convinced yet to take that step. That is the biggest challenge we face – and one we have to overcome.

Life of crime

We strongly suggest you read the lead story in today’s Insight.

There is a lot of talk about how to deal with rising crime on our streets. Talk of heavier punishments as a deterrent. Talk of how to clamp down on gangs.

Insight today lets readers hear a voice from the streets – one man who tells our reporter that we are in the middle of an all-out war, and that he is saying his goodbyes now.

Some people think the death penalty would change matters in our country, but these people are already living under the threat of a death penalty every day, delivered from a gun in a drive-by shooting rather than in a prison courtyard delivered by the gavel of a judge.

So read today’s article, and consider the streets as they really are. There is no solution offered here, just a clear-eyed view of the problems we really face.

Comments

birdiestrachan 10 months ago

It just does not seem right to have a set of rules for hotels and another law for other businesses. It just does not seem right.

In spite of your efforts to give PM Minnis points.

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birdiestrachan 10 months ago

The Bahamas Government does not have the vaccine. so this being vaccinated talk
is just talk.

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carltonr61 10 months ago

The vaccines were politically authorized by Caesar and not medically approved for human use. If many medications approved by FDA ends up doing more harm within two years. Our nurses knowing the historical inherent dangers and deaths of non animal first trial of human inoculations have made the best gamble and we should stick 100% behind them. A hotelier demanding vaccinations. Insane. More emphases were placed on monitizing Covid with rock dollar profits for private profits than study of the dangers of vaccinations.

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Twocent 10 months ago

We were COVID FREE….and then the government’s policy made us face the waves! Had we been forced to live independently in our bubble, gradually opening up to other bubbles, we would likely have survived the economic crisis, one which we still face from having to continue to fight the virus. Vaccination, in theory, creates a bubble in which the virus is non transmissible. But it has yet to show us signs of doing that. Natural herd immunity will likely come before that “bubble”. So which is theoretically better?…the bubble at the beginning that opens up to other bubbles or the mandatory vaccine bubble which due to its experimental nature is untried and uncertain, and due to its supply and demand is a shambles? Consider this….in creating a bubble at the beginning and having to become industrious, creative, entrepreneurs we might have become stronger and more resilient as a nation, which in 2 years hopes to celebrate 50 years of being “independent”. Just food for thought for the next pandemic.

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