…vaccines prevent serious complications, deaths
… stop blocking Wismar-Mackenzie Bridge – Police to protestors
…healthcare workers, transport operators given 2 weeks to comply
In the face of anti-vaxxers, a number of whom mounted protests and blocked a bridge in Linden on Wednesday, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has made a personal appeal to them to do their own research, look at the statistics on the COVID-19 vaccine and get vaccinated, so that Guyana can return to normalcy.
He made this appeal during a broadcast interview with a social commentator on Tuesday. According to Jagdeo, the statistics – both local and international – show that those who are vaccinated are far less likely to spread and be hospitalised with COVID. Jagdeo noted that cases in Guyana where persons have been seriously hospitalised or died from COVID-19, have all been among the unvaccinated.
“Look at the statistics. In the world upwards of 2 billion people have been vaccinated. And if you look at the hospitalisation, very very few from the hospitalised group have been in the hospitals. Because even if they catch the COVID, it doesn’t become severe. There is that evidence,” the Vice President said.
“In Guyana’s case, we have about 56 per cent of our adult population vaccinated. That is with a first dose. We have 30 per cent fully vaccinated. I am vaccinated. All the MPs are vaccinated. You don’t see us growing horns or having an adverse effect. And most of those people are not in hospital. The doctor who was in hospital, the nurse who died recently. They were not vaccinated.”
Jagdeo noted that they have been fortunate to vaccinate approximately 86 per cent of the elderly population, who are the most at risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Research has shown that unvaccinated persons are much more likely to have symptoms of COVID if they contract and are much more likely to spread the virus.
The Vice President assured that those who are against the vaccine roll out are not bad people, but rather they have fallen prey to misinformation. Touching on the restrictions to accessing Government services, Jagdeo made it clear that the unvaccinated cannot expect to have the same ease of access as those who are vaccinated, in the process spreading the COCID-19 virus.
“The vaccines are saving lives. Any vaccine, one dose or two. So, we have to talk to our people. People who [don’t] want vaccines, they’re not monsters. They’re not bad people. They’re just misinformed. And they bought into a lot of rumours. And it’s up to the leaders to change that. To assure them that the vaccines are for your own good.”
“And I’m appealing to people. It’s not just your health at risk. It’s fine if you were living on your own. And you have a right to live in your home as a hermit. But the minute you start going out, you go to work or a club and everyone else has taken the vaccine and you haven’t you’re putting other people’s lives at risk.
Lindeners on Wednesday meanwhile formed human blockades at the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge in Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) in protest as nurses and other staff attached to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 were denied entry into the medical institution.
The staff attached to the hospital were reportedly told on Tuesday that in order to gain entry they would have to show their vaccination cards to the security at the gate. As a result, workers were left standing outside the compound.
On Wednesday, others joined in by blocking the bridge chanting “gate closed, bridge closed” as the usual traffic across the bridge came to a halt. Police ranks are presently stationed on both ends of the bridge as Regional Division Commander Hugh Winter and team visited the location.
A number of officials are also at the location including Regional Chairman Deron Adams. Protesters also returned to the hospital’s location in a bid to have workers allowed entry.
Stop blocking bridge
The Guyana Police Force subsequently demanded that protesters desist from unlawfully blocking the bridge.
They made it clear that “the Police Force, in keeping with its mandate of maintaining public safety and security, will as a consequence take the requisite lawful actions to ensure that law and order are restored”.
Medical staff should know better
During the interview, Jagdeo was very critical of medical staff and teachers who go the route of refusing to take the vaccine. According to the Vice President, medical staff of all people should know better since they are in a science-based profession.
“When I hear doctors and nurses don’t want to take the vaccine… how can you be in a science-based field and then have these weird views about vaccines? It’s almost unacceptable. And teachers of all, they should be educated. Reading. But they succumb to rumours. And unsubstantiated views.”
However, the Vice President stressed that no security personnel at any Government building should be turning away patients or persons who have at least one dose of any vaccine. According to Jagdeo, reports of this being done are “unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony announced that healthcare workers, public transport operators and conductors will be given two weeks to comply with the Covid 19 Emergency Measures (No. 20) issued on the 29th July 2021.
“I wish to reiterate that the Government of Guyana has secured enough vaccines for the adult population. Guyanese have a choice of first and second dose AstraZeneca or SinoPharm and first dose Sputnik V. Additionally, the Pfizer vaccine for our children will soon be available,” the health minister said, adding that vaccines are “safe, effective and if you are fully vaccinated, it will reduce your chances of infection, hospitalization and death.”
It has meanwhile been announced that the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) will use its Revolving Fund to help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean procure enough vaccines to control transmission. This is according to PAHO Director Carissa F Etienne.
She further explained that PAHO’s Revolving Fund will go “beyond the 20 per cent COVAX offers.” This a reference to COVAX’s commitment to procure vaccines for 20 per cent of the region’s population – the most at-risk groups. (G3)