Column: Susan Jackson On Covid Vaccines

April 7, 2021

susan jackson generic OBA (2)[Opinion column written by OBA MP Susan Jackson]

Vaccine incentives have become a topical debate as Bermuda races to vaccinate our community amidst rising Covid-19 cases and deaths. The race for vaccination is increasingly urgent and the possibility of incentives has become the ‘carrot on a stick’ to increase the number of people vaccinated to achieve 70%-80% “herd immunity”.

Is the idea of giving something in return for getting the jab discriminatory?

Will there become a separate state compromised of the haves and the have nots?

These questions led me to take a deeper look at whether requiring a vaccine passport, let’s say, to travel abroad or to socialize with other vaccinated people outside a household bubble might be against the law?

Following discussion with OBA Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs, Scott Pearman, and taking my own deeper-dive into our Human Rights law, I understood the following. If government passed a law to mandate that everyone had to, by law, get a vaccination, then one might say it’s against their human rights to have their body violated by a forced injection.

This is certainly not the case in Bermuda. Getting vaccinated, in Bermuda, is a personal choice. Everyone is encouraged to talk to a doctor and make a personal decision to be vaccinated, or not. As a result of that personal decision, preference may be given to those who do get vaccinated over those who don’t get vaccinated. This begs the question “what fundamental human right is being denied”?

Discrimination against one’s human rights occurs when there is less favourable treatment on the grounds of a protected characteristic, like race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or age.

In Bermuda, discriminatory whisperings surrounding the vaccine focus on whether a non-vaccinated person may be denied the right to travel, or denied a discount on purchases, or even denied the ability to freely move about the island.

These preferences, more commonly referred to as incentives, are a matter of choice. Yes, they are designed to encourage more people to make the choice to get vaccinated, but this has no bearing on the protected characteristics of a human rights violation. Because a person makes a personal choice not to get vaccinated, it’s that individual’s personal decision, and it may include living with consequences.

If we can encourage more people to get vaccinated, it helps Bermuda to re-open for business. It increases the freedoms to socialize and move about the island for all. Remember, Bermuda is striving for herd immunity [70%-80% vaccinated] and, simply put, we must create a protective barrier to reduce the risks for those not vaccinated.

There are going to be un-vaccinated individuals, whether for health or personal reasons, and it’s the vaccinated population who will protect the un-vaccinated and reduce the spread of the virus. It is my personal choice to get vaccinated because I’ll do whatever it takes to protect the vulnerable which in this case, includes the un-vaccinated.

- Susan Jackson


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Comments (37)

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  1. trufth says:

    But it isn’t always a choice not to get vaccinated. Will those people become 2nd class citizens because they aren’t able to get the vax? Lepers comes to mind.

    And keep in mind, this is not an FDA approved vaccine. It is an experiment and some people are looking out for their health by waiting until the experiment and phased trials are over. These people aren’t “anti-vaxxers,” many are “anti-experiments.”

    But do what you will, a free cookie or discount on petrol isn’t going to convince people to get these injections. If anything, it may make the unvaccinated boycott those businesses that they see as discriminating against them whether politicians call it discrimination or not. It’s about our perception and the optics.

  2. Just saying says:

    If your not a doctor what right do you have to my medical history. Asking for the vax card is doctor patient privilege. Not public info

    • JCS says:

      You aren’t vaccinated by your doctor so why would your vaccination come under your personal medical history? I don’t know about you but I went through a few people who checked off my name before I was vaccinated. I really don’t have an issue if any of those people want to yell my name from the tree tops saying I was vaccinated. I’m glad I was and I want more people do do the same.

  3. Portia says:

    You’re wrong Ms. Jackson. Your analysis overlooks two important factors, firstly, that a person who has had Covid and recovered IS fully immunized, they don’t need the vaccine, and there is virtually no chance of them getting it a second time, so why shouldn’t they be privy to these discounts and incentives? Secondly, you conveniently overlook the fact that getting the shot does NOT prevent transmission, you can still catch it and pass it on to others, as we can see from the fact of many vaccinated people testing positive in Bermuda. You being vaccinated DOES NOT protect the unvaccinated, the only advantage is that you may have milder symptoms when you get it.

    Discrimination comes in many forms, and is often broader than the issues you cited. It goes beyond race, religion, etc. Discrimination on the basis of one’s medical history (which is no one else’s business) is also egregious and dangerous.

    I am fully aware that what the government is trying to do is create a two-tier society in which the vaccinated are afforded privileges that the unvaccinated are not. It will start small with these little discounts, like Krispy Kreme offering donuts (which you’re probably better off without) and then gradually escalate into being denied entrance to certain businesses and even barred from certain jobs. At that point then it DOES become an infringement on a person’s human rights, because they are now being denied the right to obtain goods and services, to buy food, and to provide for themselves and their families. The fact that no one in Government is signalling any sort of resistance to vaccine passports, or indicating to businesses that such carte blanche violation of citizens’ human rights will NOT be tolerated, should be setting off alarm bells to everyone, and for that reason these passports and bribes (that’s really what they are) should not even be entertained.

    • Information says:

      Worth the read….From the WHO. “If you’ve had Covid, should you still get vaccinated?”—vaccines-explained

      • LOL (original) says:

        Still skeptical of WHO after they basically helped the CCP cover this up. They would not even entertain the lab leak theory which only now people seem like they might look at that again a year after Politics infected the issue.


    • Bermudagrl says:

      Thank you for your comments which should make Bermudians stop and think where all of this is headed ! The best immunity is the God given one after you have had Covid and your T-Cells fight for the rest of your life the variants and SARS covid -2! The research is there! Once you have had Covid you can not give it or get it, but vaccinated people can!
      So who is more safe ? Thank you Portia!!!!

  4. Discrimination says:

    Your obaUBp boy Dwayne was saying something on the lines of vaccinated people having more rights to enter establishments. This is the obaUBPers history of discrimination against a certain segment of society. So do you agree that this is what your party is pushing for as per normal??? Your party has always supported the haves and not the have nots!

    • Great says:

      Fine. I guess you won’t be getting on a plane any time soon. More room for the rest of us.

    • sandgrownan says:

      We’re in the midst of public health crisis. One thing we can all do is modify our behaviour and get vaccinated to go some way to reducing the spread or mitigating the effects of the virus.

      If a private establishment denies you entry because you are not vaccinated, it’s entirely up to them. It’s quite simple.

      And, personally, I would prefer to frequent establishments where the clientele are vaccinated. That’s also simple to understand too.

      It’s not discrimination in any way at all.

      • sage says:

        No, that is textbook divide and rule.

        • sandgrownan says:

          No, you are directly responsible for your own behaviour.

          Freedom of expression, speech, thought, doesn’t mean it’s free of consequence. IF you want to be a plague rat, so be it, but do not come into my place of business. Understand?

          • LOL (original) says:

            Who talks like that “plague rat” ………You think people intentionally catch sickness to spread it to you. Please this is not North Korea and you sure as hell are not part of the royal family. What you are talking about is social consequence to the above list. These are not codified in law and is how activists pressure others to control them like you are attempting to do now.

            LOL hence the label “supremacist” you and the current Dems in the states. You know better than everyone else so we should listen to you. Sorry not gonna happen do us a favor never run for politics.

    • saud says:

      LOL…typical hypocrisy from the plp.

      The PLP is paying your white British overlords millions of Bermuda dollars to allow you to discriminate against the LGBT community.
      You’re a hypocrite, and you’re on the wrong side of history.
      This does nothing but prove that the PLP and the UPB/OBA are THE SAME!

      • Lol says:

        The PLP explained their platform to the voters and won 30 to 6 and you voted OBA/UBP so STFU!

        • LOL says:

          LOL, so you admit that the PLP and OBA are the same people, same racist and homophobic agenda?
          I’m glad you’re finally being honest with yourself. :)

          Now, STFU! LOL

        • sandgrownan says:

          Let’s see how well 20 years of PLP incompetence is going….I’ll wait.

  5. Red Pill says:

    You’re complaining about incentives how about the lack of information on the dangers of taking this vaccine. You all need to get your priorities right.

  6. Woww says:

    I don’t even know where to start with this nonsense. Would have expected better from Ms Jackson. There is no doubt whatsoever that restricting the freedom of movement or association is a restriction on our rights.

    I sincerely hope this is not the view of the OBA or the six seats they have now may be the most they ever get in the future.

    • Great says:

      Well if you can’t get a plane ticket without being vaccinated, you know who to blame. 30-6.

      Just like if you can’t stay at a hotel, go into a bar, or ride a bus.

    • sandgrownan says:

      No it isn’t. A private establishment can choose to prevent your entry. It’s that simple. If you cannot heed the considered medical consensus, then you have no right to inflict yourself on others.

      It’s the same with religion. Just keep it to yourself.

      • LOL (original) says:

        That is the most supremacist thing read on here to date.


        • Sandgrownan says:

          How about we charge double for health insurance for anti-vaxers?

  7. Paul Fedden says:

    Incentivizing vaccination may not breach the human rights act, but it DOES breach the Nuremberg code. You can keep SAYING that vaccination is a choice so you are CHOOSING to opt out of the ‘PERKS’ or ‘INCENTIVES as much as you like, but it does NOT make it legal.
    Incentivization IS COERCION which IS ILLEGAL.
    How can you claim vaccination is a ‘FREE CHOICE’ when you are proposing PENALIZING people for deciding not too? Free choice means ZERO RECRIMINATIONS for that choice. What you are proposing is frankly disgusting and I for one will cease patronizing ANY company on this island that tries such a dispicable move.
    The Canadian Supreme court has just ruled it UNLAWFUL to ‘FORCE, COERCE OR IN ANY WAY try incentivize vaccination.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Well that’s good, I don’t want plague rats eating in the same establishment as me. Nor do I want your kids at the same school as mine, nor do I want you on the same plane as me.

      You’re nothing more than an anti-vaxer. Darwinism at work!

      You also need to remember that the Canadian Supreme court ruled to limit free speech.

      • LOL (original) says:

        You sir are a melomaniac/supremacist! Canada has been taken over by the dummies’ following the cliffhanger Trudeau who is not his daddy. Like I said back then C-19 the law your talking about is so subjective it should not be a law. What you are championing is a subjective law so you can get rid of whom you think threatens you or your power. Not to be protected.

        LOL Darwinism contently forgets about how evolution can even start cause nothing can’t evolve to something. Even the laws of physics disproves the theory.

        • Sandgrownan says:

          I bet what you know about the laws of physics could fit on a postage stamp.

    • Great says:

      Utter bollocks.

    • NC says:

      Offering ‘perks’ for people who choose to vaccinate is not the same thing as penalizing those who choose not to. There is no law or code that would ever say that being denied a free cookie or a discount on something is a denial of your human rights, or a way to force/coerce you.

      • LOL (original) says:

        Sorry you don’t follow your own logic do you. Give one group a perk means that other don’t get the same advantages as the chosen. Setting up a two tier system of haves and have nots.

        LOL you people are being radicalized by this pandemic and you can’t even see it. For your sake I hope you are part of the 1% cause if not you’ll be right here with us plague rats.

  8. Paul Fedden says:

    My reply to Susan Jackson & Dwane Robinson:
    Incentivizing vaccination may not breach the human rights act, but it DOES breach the Nuremberg code. You can keep SAYING that vaccination is a choice so you are CHOOSING to opt out of the ‘PERKS’ or ‘INCENTIVES’ as much as you like, but it does NOT make it legal.
    Incentivization IS COERCION which IS ILLEGAL.
    How can you claim vaccination is a ‘FREE CHOICE’ when you are proposing PENALIZING people for deciding not to? Free choice means ZERO RECRIMINATIONS for that choice. What you are proposing is frankly disgusting and I for one will cease patronizing ANY company on this island that tries such a dispicable move.
    The Canadian Supreme court has just ruled it UNLAWFUL to ‘FORCE, COERCE OR IN ANY WAY try to incentivize vaccination.

  9. Susan Hill Davidson says:

    Yes it is a choice. The government is not penalizing you for not getting the vaccine, but is setting public health rules for the greater good of the entire population. Individual companies can discriminate on say their airplanes or cruise ships and countries may make public health rules to enter their country as they are doing now with testing requirements, quarantines and the like.

  10. Information says:

    Worth the read….Public Health Act of Bermuda 1949. Page 65. Section 116. Compulsory Vaccination.

    “…Where it appears to the Minister that an outbreak of smallpox is imminent or has occurred or is likely to become epidemic, the Minister may by special notice to a person, or by general notice in the Gazette, direct any person or class of persons to be vaccinated, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the notice…”

  11. Paul Fedden says:

    Well, what a lovely message thst is! Yiu should becreminded that YOU STILL CARRY AND SPREAD THE VIRUS WHEN VACCINATED! Therefore you are still a ‘plague rat’ as you call it, yourself! Yiu are welcome to your space, I would not want to share any spCe with such a bigotted individual! Such hatred! I would seek therooy if I were you. I wish no harm to anyone and I am not necessarily anti-vax as much as I am UNRICRIMMINATED PRO CHOICE. Where there is risk, there must always be choice.

    • 2020 Won says:

      English isn’t your first language is it?

      Please stop using Google translate to post your comments. It just results in a nonsensical incomprehensible rant.

  12. Common Sense says:

    The main incentive for me to get the vaccine is that it will hugely reduce the chance of me becoming very ill or dying from Covid. This is enough. I have looked at all the evidence of the risks with the disease which are considerable against the minimal risks of the vaccine so it was an easy choice to get vaccinated. I am not sure about herd immunity as I feel that when this is over everyone will have either had the disease or the vaccine. The vaccine is easily the less of the evils