MOH rejects claims about nurses being forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine at NA Nursing School

The Ministry of Health has refuted claims made by a Member of Parliament on social media that Nursing Students at the New Amsterdam Nursing School are being forced to take the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Ministry of Health categorically rejects this assertion and wishes to clarify that NO Nursing Student or Staff has ever been forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

As it relates to the New Amsterdam Nursing School, several outreaches have been made in an attempt to offer COVID-19 vaccination to the nursing students. On April 27, a Senior Health Visitor (SHV) in Region Six and a team visited the New Amsterdam Nursing School and conducted a sensitization exercise. After this session, one student requested to be vaccinated. Subsequently, a second visit and another sensitization exercise was made by the team. The COVID-19 vaccination uptake remained low.

On May 24, the Medical Superintendent of the New Amsterdam Hospital and a team held discussions with the Tutors at the Nursing School. They agreed to another sensitisation session and another vaccination outreach at the school.

The most senior of the health visitors led a team to the Nursing School on May 27 at 9:15 AM. The team did not take any vaccine – their mission was simply one of education and awareness. After the session about 50 nursing students agreed that the time had come for them to take their vaccines. A vaccination team was then sent with vaccines to accommodate these students. The exercise started at 11.00AM and 71 nursing students voluntarily accepted the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccines, remains a voluntary exercise. But we reserve the option and the obligation to sensitise different population, to aggressively pursue education and awareness programs to address vaccine hesitancy. We will continue to exercise that right and that obligation.

We urge all citizens, especially leaders, to join us in making our country safer. Vaccination safe lives.