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COVID-19

Greater public health needs to be considered: Raj

June 21, 2021 6:40 am

Some employees believe that they must be afforded the right to make an informed choice rather than being compelled to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj says people have a choice but that must be based on adequate and accurate information about the vaccine.

Raj says the right to freedom includes the right not to be subjected to forced medical procedures without one’s informed consent.

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“Until now the state has not forced anybody to get vaccinated.it is consistent with the constitutional provisions which especially provide that everybody has the right to be free from scientific and medical treatment.”

Raj says employers and employees need to consider the greater public interest of keeping the workplaces, homes, and the country safe.

“I think there is greater consideration in terms of the interest of the community over that of an induvial. So we have to look at all of those rare circumstances in which somebody cannot be vaccinated on religious grounds or because of health reasons and so forth.”

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation President Sandeep Chauhan says several of its members have had a one-on-one session with its employees to inform and encourage them to get vaccinated.

“Made them realize that it’s all about ensuring that everybody is taken care of and it’s for the betterment. It’s for everybody the quicker we get vaccinated, the quicker the economy opens up and everybody can get employed.”

Chauhan says Fijians need to move beyond being selfish and think about their loved ones.

The Ministry of Health says while vaccination is not compulsory as it’s an individual choice, they are encouraging vaccinations to reduce hospitalizations and severe cases.

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