• Kim Boodram (Source: trinidadexpress.com) 13th July 2021

A group of citizens concerned about the constitutionality of mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 have begun to advocate for the Government to recognise the rights of individuals to decline taking ‘the jab’.

The Covid-19 Transparency Advocacy Group of Trinidad and Tobago (CTGATT) launched its concerns via press statement last week and is seeking to “prevent Constitutional changes that mandate vaccines for any citizen regardless of age, physical constitution or occupation”.

Comprised of a variety of professionals, CTGATT is also calling on the Government to assemble the appropriate experts and interest groups to investigate alternative solutions to vaccines and to explore treatments for Covid-19, including the much-touted drug, Ivermectin.

CTGATT has described itself as “a group of concerned citizens representing a wide cross section of the citizenry of Trinidad & Tobago”.

It also stated that, “We strongly advocate the sovereignty of the human being and the right to choose what we put into our bodies. In order to make informed choices we believe that citizens must be made aware of the risks versus the benefits of the various measures currently being employed locally and internationally in response to the SARS-Covid-19.”

Spokesperson for the group, environmentalist Cathal Healy-Singh, in the statement underscored CTGATT’s assertion that, “Government must not mandate any investigative pharmaceutical or Covid-19 vaccine.”

CTGATT further stated that:

“Vaccination cannot be seen as the only solution to the pandemic, and patients should be given the choice of other emerging prophylactics and other therapeutics.”

The group has noted that its intention is not to infringe on the right of any individual to choose Covid-19 vaccination but to call for better informed choices and to prevent any citizen from being discriminated against or in any way penalised, as a result of choosing not to be vaccinated.

“Government has a duty to assemble a team of local experts and appropriate interest groups to explore the use of alternative approaches including preventive and early treatment protocols, such as Ivermectin and the use of repurposed antivirals, which have shown to be effective in treating Covid-19.”

CTGATT has referred to developments in Barbados, where that country’s Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations announced in May that “it is not mandatory for an employee to take the vaccine”.

According to an article on the Barbados Government Information Service website, the Labour Ministry there has said that “the employee determines whether he/she wants to be vaccinated and is not to be treated unfairly nor discriminated against by the employer, if he/she chooses not to take the vaccine”.