Get vaccinated now for national herd immunity

Dear Editor,
Nation, imagine everyone in Guyana died, all 800,000 of us! Over 800,000 people have died in the USA from the virus; that is more than the entire population of Guyana. Some died before a vaccine was available, and many of those who died refused to take the vaccine. On their dying beds, many anti-vaxxers and resisters asked relatives and friends to get the vaccine and not to make the mistake they had made.
People, the virus is not a joke. The Government has spent billions to obtain vaccines for us; so why are some people waiting and dilly-dallying, instead of rushing to get the vaccine? Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “Eligible people who are not vaccinated against COVID and have no medical reason not to get the jab are idiots.”
There is a new surge of COVID cases across the USA and the world, and, in just a matter of time, Guyana will have the same problem. Here are some headlines: “Preliminary data suggests that omicron is significantly more contagious than previous versions of the coronavirus”; “Omicron sweeps across the nation, now 73% of new US COVID cases”; “Omicron sweeping through California with staggering speed, raising alarms”; “In highly vaccinated New England, hospitals are under unprecedented strain as coronavirus surges”.
In Guyana, these facts should jolt us to take urgent action if we are not vaccinated. Don’t be part of the death statistics.
Only 70% of teachers are vaccinated; this is unacceptable if we want to open school. Is the Ministry of Education enforcing the vaccination mandate? How about the nurses getting an extra two weeks of tax-free pay (funded through deficit spending)? Can the Health Ministry release figures of those vaccinated? How about the rest of the joint services (getting an extra month of tax-free pay funded through deficit spending) and other Government services? Is the vaccine mandate being enforced across all Government agencies?
In my recent visit to Guyana, I noticed most people were wearing masks at the malls, in the markets, and at funerals. That’s very commendable. Some places enforced proof of vaccination, such as Demerara Bank and Gafoors at BV. Others did not.
Nation, we cannot afford to be complacent. Let’s keep wearing our masks until we are given the all-clear. As a poor, struggling, “rich country of poor people”, with limping health services, please don’t gamble with your life and hope you will be the lucky one to not get infected. That is simply reckless. If you get the virus and have to go to the hospital, God be with you and your family. You will need all the divine help you can get!
We want to open up our economy and maintain full employment. We want to be normal again, but everyone has to get vaccinated to achieve that herd immunity. We have lost over 1,000 of our people, and most were unvaccinated. I call on all churches, unions, and organisations to make one more push to get our people vaccinated. “A hole in the boat is a hole in the whole boat.” Every unvaccinated person threatens the whole Guyana boat!

Dr Jerry Jailall