EDITOR: If they are any major interruption to the 2021-2022 school year due to an outbreak of Covid 19 then we stand to lose a generation of students that should be a major concern to all right thinking Vincentians.
The issue of Health and Safety has always been a critical issue for the Teacher’s Union during my era and the union expert on health and safety is currently the union president. We are now battling the greatest threat to the wellbeing of teachers and students so I am at a loss to understand the union’s position from a health and safety standpoint.
One line of argument is that vaccine mandates violate our basic right of choice, however, a basic justification for vaccine mandates is that your freedom doesn’t include the freedom to endanger the rest of the school community.
For years we mandate that children be vaccinated before they attend school on the belief that otherwise their bodies could be used as vectors to harm other members of the school community.
As individual we have the right to harm ourselves by making bad choices. But the state has a responsibility to protect others from the undue risk of harm imposed on them from the unvaccinated.
I understand the genuine fear of some people but we trust a wide array of medicines to get us well, we trust our mini bus drivers, or pilots to take us safely to our destination. Vaccine like all medicine will have a negative impact on a small number of persons, but it is a small burden with huge benefits like slowing the rate of transmission and reducing the opportunity for more dangerous variants to emerge.
The central issue here is that research have shown that the covid 19 vaccine have saved millions of lives globally. It also protects others in the community who are not vaccinated. Unvaccinated teachers are a direct threat to the health and safety of the school community.