PM will be shocked to hear about Covid-19 booster memo – Deputy PM says

By Admin. Updated 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 9, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Deputy Prime Minister – Mr. Montgomery Daniel. Photo: Agency for Public Information.

Acting and Deputy Prime Minister, Montgomery Daniel says he is sure Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will be shocked to hear about the contents of a recent memorandum circulated to health care workers.

One News St. Vincent broke the news on August 8 about a signed memo from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment informing healthcare workers that they need to be boosted every five months with a Covid-19 booster in order to be eligible for employment in the health sector.

At a press conference on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the Deputy Prime Minister who is acting as prime minister in the absence of Dr. Gonsalves, who is currently in Taiwan on a State visit, said the issue was discussed by Cabinet before the prime minister left the State for Taiwan.

“I am sure the Prime Minister himself will be somewhat shocked to hear that the decision that has gone out is not what was fully captured in the Cabinet,” Mr. Daniel said.

“There was indeed some misconception as to what took place at the Cabinet and of course, we will review at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow m, the decision,” Mr. Daniel added.

Meanwhile, health minister St. Clair Jimmy Prince acknowledged that the memorandum was circulated from the minister of health and apologized for it.

“I apologize for the anxiety caused by our recent memo among healthcare workers, but as I said before, that was not the intention of Cabinet; it is still not the intention of Cabinet…,” Health Minister St. Clair Prince said on Tuesday, August 9 at a press conference.

Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves, also weighed in on the matter.

Mr. Gonsalves said: “It is not a mandate. It is not a condition for employment,” and that they are strongly recommending workers to take the boosters.

Mr. Gonsalves said: “it appears that there was a mistranscription of that decision, that was sent to the permanent secretary who then faithful relayed that erroneous record of the Cabinet minutes to the healthcare workers and then it was subsequently reported…,” adding that the minutes of that Cabinet meeting will only be reviewed tomorrow in Cabinet. So, we didn’t catch it; it went out; but all of us were busy texting one another last night [saying which mandate? Who said that? I don’t recall that, and the fact of the matter is that it did not occur.”

“We do strongly urge all Vincentians and in particular, health care workers and frontline workers to take the booster, but that urging is not in the form of a mandate,” Gonsalves added.

The August 5 Memo created some anxiety among many healthcare workers who had received it.

Some of the workers who shared the memo with One News SVG said they were considering resignation.

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