Government says that vaccination mandate will be extended to private-sector workers shortly via public health regulations

The Government’s vaccination mandate will soon be extended to the private sector, as the Cabinet has agreed that the Public Health Regulations will be amended.

The changes will mandate all private-sector employers with more than five persons on staff to have these employees fully vaccinated as a condition for retaining their jobs.  

Just recently, the Employers Federation asked the Government to extend its controversial mandate beyond the public sector in order to facilitate private businesses.

Already, some private-sector organizations, including taxi and bus associations, and persons employed in the tourism sector have been mandated to get the jab.

In an earlier interview, Labour Relations Consultant Henderson Bass said he hoped the Federation would reconsider its position on mandatory vaccination for private-sector employees.

Bass, who is a former chief executive officer of the Federation, said, then, that the body was going down the wrong road in wanting to adopt the Government’s position.

He had said workers should continue to be given the option of bi-weekly testing and not forced to do something against their will.

Bass was of the opinion that this type of pressure can have serious repercussions, especially when workers feel their backs are against the wall.

He reminded the Federation that if a similar mandate is imposed on the private sector and workers who refuse to get vaccinated are let go, employers will have to pay them severance.

At present, Antigua and Barbuda has fully vaccinated 49,560 individuals, while 6,382 have received their first dose.