Guyanese have confronted an enemy unlike any in our lifetime

Dear Editor,
Death of a loved one is a painful experience. However, when a loved one dies from COVID-19, it is likely to be more difficult for several reasons: the death is unanticipated and families are separated from their hospitalised loved one due to potential contagion.
Families may be unable to grieve and memorialise their loss in ways that are religiously and culturally familiar. It is likely that family and close friends will be distressed, confused, and have many questions.
As we move through the pain of grief, it is important to remember that many people find new strengths and capabilities and develop enduring relationships with others.
As Guyanese, we must stand together to promote vaccinations so we can save lives and finally get beyond this pandemic. Throughout our history, Guyanese have put aside their partisan differences and stood together in times of crisis. It is time for us to stand together again and stop COVID -19 deaths for the past 16 months, the people of Guyana have confronted an enemy unlike any in our lifetimes. The coronavirus pandemic has threatened Guyanese in every community around the country.
It has disrupted our daily routines, ravaged our economy and taken far too many lives not easy to comprehend but thanks to the scientists’ engagement, lifesaving vaccines are widely available and the end of our struggle is at last, coming into view, the most important step forward. At this critical moment is to finally overcome the virus and avoid continued outbreaks, more Guyanese need to get vaccinated.
The World Bank approved US$6 million in additional financing for the Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project to support affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and ensure effective vaccine deployment in Guyana. The project will also support general preparedness, resilience, and overall health system strengthening
Perhaps good news for Guyanese as vaccination agents are subject to social and logistical constraints which further complicates campaign efforts.
Our public awareness efforts have been working for months but that is part of the difficulties we have. The PPP/C Government has provided the means, but it is not enough to achieve the objective because of negative community leaders.
There were awareness measures that were put in place with the campaign agents that were dispatched in the arteries of the city, towns and communities, I can speak for Region 10 where the RHO, Dr Harris, and his team visited community after community to ensure effective vaccine deployment and this seemed to bear fruit in the first few weeks because we went from the decreasing curve to the increasing curve but now there are fewer and fewer people coming to be vaccinated, as we all have noticed across Region 10 and the difficulty we have is with the second doses of Sputnik.
A vaccine that still has difficulty being accepted by some of our own residents, still influenced by preconceived notions and selfish Opposition politicians
We must all understand that an efficient and equitable rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will be critical to save lives and restore economic activities in Guyana. The World Bank is closely coordinating with development partners and our Government of Guyana counterparts to support the vaccination campaign, and long-term improvements to the country’s healthcare system.
This pandemic has had socioeconomic impacts, including job losses, which disproportionately affect women. This additional financing to the Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project will fund the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines. It will help the Government of Guyana strengthen health system functions that are necessary for immunisation, such as vaccine awareness communication, human resources, information systems, and waste management. The additional financing to this project also aims to increase overall health system preparedness to tackle future emergencies.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed over US$125 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. The bank is also providing US$12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.
The spread of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines has become a significant topic of discussion in Guyana and Region 10 over the last few months. We must do more to eliminate conspiracy theories about the vaccines, which have proliferated over the course of the pandemic.
The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic.
This is exciting news, but there are still some people who are sceptical or hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines. Chances are you know a person who falls into this category – maybe among your group of friends or in your family.
If you are unsure of how to approach conversations about vaccines with vaccine sceptics you know, you’re not alone.

David Adams

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