Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says one of the reasons why some public officers refuse to be vaccinated is because of their religious conviction or belief – but he urges them to take up their jabs.
Speaking yesterday, Sogavare said of the remaining 18 percent that had not taken their COVID-19 vaccination, some Christians have refused COVID-19 vaccination due to their religious beliefs and convictions.
“I encourage these public servants to see their respective church leaders, most of whom have been vaccinated to discuss their concerns and go and get vaccinated. Most of these Christians do not have objections to other vaccines such as those for measles, chicken pox, rubella, whooping cough, TB or hepatitis so why are they objecting to vaccinating against a disease that is more deadly?” he said.
Public officers face 50% pay-cut by end of next month if they refuge to get the vaccine and ultimate sacking by end of January 2022.
At the same time, he said those who refused to be vaccinated because of pre-existing health conditions is a misconception. “People with existing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, tuberculosis, and other chronic chest infections, are more at risk from COVID-19 – as we have seen from the majority that had died in countries such as Fiji. People with pre-existing diseases are high priority for vaccination because if they are vaccinated, they will develop high levels of protection against serious infection by COVID-19. If they are NOT vaccinated and they get infected many will develop serious diseases and many will die,” he said.
On constitutional rights, Sogavare said: “Their human and constitutional right not to be vaccinated – for all those that stand on their constitutional right to choose not to be vaccinated, they must also understand and respect the constitutional right of the majority that have been vaccinated.”