Private Sector and Unions Join Forces to Encourage Vaccination

As the country faces a third surge of the COVID19 virus, the joint view of employer representative groups – the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association as well as employee representative groups, the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions – is that all Jamaicans should be urged to make the choice to get vaccinated. 

The private sector and labour groups believe that the relatively low take-up of vaccines by Jamaicans despite the increasing positivity rate is cause for great concern especially as the already limited human and physical resources of the public health system are diminishing. We acknowledge the hesitancy that exists for many Jamaicans and are of the view that much of this is due to an abundance of conflicting information. We therefore implore every Jamaican to seek the facts from reputable sources such as the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative, to help inform their decision. 

Based on the current situation, the groups are not in support of general edicts by employers to impose requirements for vaccination of its workforce and are of the view that employees must be educated prior to making their final choices. Notwithstanding, the group also acknowledges that there may be specific and extenuating circumstances that could make the requirement for vaccination in some workplaces a necessity.

The Government of Jamaica and the supporting ministries and agencies should be commended for the work done to secure vaccines for the nation. The partners also note the efforts being made to improve availability across the island, however, more work is needed to increase accessibility. This may be achieved by expediting legislative amendments, or identifying and implementing other strategic initiatives, as the country seeks to significantly accelerate the rate of vaccinations

Jamaica is in a very difficult and tenuous economic and social position at this point where anxiety, fear and hopelessness is pervasive. We are all – employers, employees, the self -employed and our most vulnerable – on the edge.

The aforementioned partners are encouraging their constituents and stakeholders to get vaccinated. This act will ensure their safety and assist in getting Jamaicans back to some level of normalcy as we adjust to living with the ever-changing character of the Covid -19 pandemic. 

The groups have also signaled their desire to meet with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, as well as other Ministries that play a key role in monitoring and enforcement of workplace protocols.

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