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NATUC Secretary General Michael Annisette

Secretary General of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC), Michael Annisette, is maintaining that it is every individual’s right to choose to be vaccinated or not.

The NATUC Sec-Gen made the assertion in a strongly worded release issued today, in which he condemned what he says were attempts “to propagate in the public domain that he took the COVID vaccine” and misinterpret views he expressed on the vaccine itself, following an interview he had done recently on a television morning show.

“The right of any individual to take or not take the Covid vaccine is a personal choice and in my interview on the NOW Morning Programme, I stated that I was not opposed to vaccines and that I did in fact have a vaccination card which I use should it be required during my travels,” he says in the release.

The union boss went on to clarify further: “However, any vaccine which I may have taken in years gone by would have undergone comprehensive clinical tests and trials and would have been approved for use as a bona fide vaccine and not a vaccine approved for Emergency Use Authorisation, since EUAs are basically authorisation that is given for experimental therapies. At no time did I say that I had taken the Covid vaccine, which at this time is still classified as an EUA.”

In the release, Mr Annisette admits to being ‘vaccine cautious’ and determined to exercise his right to determine what goes into his body, a right he says which belongs to every citizen.

“I wish to make it unequivocally clear that I am vaccine cautious and at present I am conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the whole issue of the distribution of the various Covid ‘vaccines’,” Annisette states in his release.

He added: “I repeat that it is the fundamental right of all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to decide what goes into their bodies. There should be no force, coercing or subterfuge to railroad citizens into taking the Covid vaccine.”

According to the trade union leader, both the Government and the Ministry of Health are obligated, both legally and ethically, to engage in a “collaborative decision-making process” that protects individuals’ rights and respects their decision to consent or not, to vaccinate.

“Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. If workers agree to an activity under pressure of intimidation or threat, that isn’t considered consent because it was not given freely. Consent is not consent unless it is informed,” he stated.

“At this time there is no labour legislation that speaks to the employers’ right to implement any new terms and conditions of employment without going through the legal universal right to have it codified in the laws of Trinidad and Tobago,” Mr Annisette explained.

“The employer does not have the right to force any worker to take the vaccine as a condition of their continuing to be employed. An individual’s decision to take the vaccine is a personal choice and a worker must have all the information necessary for them to make that choice,” he added.