‘To force vaccination is criminal’
12 July, 2021, 10:30 am
To force vaccination with the threat of denial of livelihood is criminal, says Dr Jone Hawea in response to the recent stance taken by the Government to have all Fijians in the workforce take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The former Lautoka Hospital specialist surgeon did an awareness video recently on the vaccine which went viral on Facebook.
“I did a full awareness on the current debate surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccine and my talk was especially on the amendment of the occupational health and safety laws which forces employers and employees to be vaccinated,” Dr Hawea shared at his Balawa, Lautoka, home yesterday.
“My problem with that in the context of the Fiji situation is this, majority of our population live in highly congested residential areas in towns and city boundaries and their only means to live are to either work or set up a business and so to force vaccination with the threat of denial of livelihood is criminal.
“And vaccination is a medical intervention and all medical interventions come under the authority of medical doctors worldwide and that is our jurisdiction. So because of that, we authorise all health staff to give the injections and we give authorisations and our authorisations come from a decision based on ethics first and science later, politics later and economy later.”
Dr Hawea said the ethical ground was not there to support forcing vaccination and it should have been noted that the COVID-19 vaccine was still being trialled while it was rolled out.
He said proper procedures could have been taken to ensure the vaccine was campaigned heavily by way of creativity and persuasion.
“We can only go as far as trying our best with influence to persuade our people to vaccinate. At the end of the day, it is up to them. The pandemic and its issues are still debatable so there is no real grounds to force people anyway, irrespective of the circumstances. Even if the pandemic is as such, it will come to a dialogue, debate and a resolution, but not just an outright change of law.”
Dr Hawea said he respected the view of the Government to get the economy back on its feet and the only way out was through the COVID-19 vaccination.
He said this was also the first time such amendments were made in his experience as a doctor.
“Amending that law, it’s like putting an invisible noose around people’s necks and then pretending to say yes.”