The vaccination of State workers has become a hotly debated topic, evoking emotions ranging from anger to anxiety.
As the mid-January deadline approaches, all parties involved—Government, trade unions and workers—have been making a case to drive home their varying positions.
COVID-19 has impacted citizens in this country from all walks of life including the public sector.
One of the divisions most impacted is the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
This week alone, four police officers succumbed to COVID-19 taking the death toll there close to 30.
Officers have been paying tribute to their fallen colleagues by way of candlelight vigils and memorials.
Yesterday the Acting Commissioner of Police revealed that 200 officers were presently battling the virus, with over 700 in quarantine.
But despite all the death and the worrying statistics, the Police Social and Welfare Association has asked for medical insurance for officers, saying this would help to bolster their confidence in taking a COVID-19 vaccine in the event of adverse side effects.
Aren’t the deaths of their own colleagues or ‘batch’ enough to convince those on the fence to take the jab?
What about the grief of spouses, children left behind to navigate life without a parent, is that not sufficient to motivate officers to save their own lives and spare their loved ones from the emotional agony?
The Ministry of Health has repeatedly stated it has not recorded anyone dying after being administered a COVID-19 vaccine.
Instead, the statistics from the ministry clearly show the number of unvaccinated people who have died from the virus far exceeds those who were vaccinated and lost their lives.
Yesterday’s statistics revealed 2,455 people who were not fully vaccinated died as opposed to the 165 who were fully vaccinated.
The evidence is overwhelming.
Yet the resistance continues and so too will the deaths among police officers, unfortunately, if the vaccination rate in the TTPS does not increase.
The Acting Commissioner of Police has pleaded with officers to be vaccinated and has even gone the distance to provide medical counselling and checks to police officers about their health and vaccines.
At the end of the day, the choice remains an individual one.
No amount of pleading from senior officers or the implementation of the public sector safe zone policy could sway police officers to be vaccinated.
Regrettably, COVID-19 has greatly impacted the TTPS, a vital arm of this country’s national security.
With a spike in cases, and possibly deaths looming, one can only hope good sense prevails before the men and women tasked with protecting and serving become victims to something just as menacing as crime.