Health of the nation is the wealth of the nation

Dear Editor,
Vaccine hesitancy is of mounting concern around the world, and local politicians that add fuel to such a negative cause are setting their supporters up for suffering and death, although global leaders have embraced vaccination, which has saved thousands of lives.
Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon has shown poor leadership and lack of care for Guyanese who have taken his advice to not get vaccinated, while making disparaging remarks about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme that has been successful so far.
President Irfaan Ali has condemned as “reckless and immature” a call by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon to suspend administration of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
Political leaders who oppose the development and safety of the citizenry are selfish, and will be judged accordingly in the history books.
As at Monday last, the Health Ministry shared, Guyana had vaccinated close to 50 percent of its adult population with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 20 per cent of the adult population have received their second dose, making them fully vaccinated.
President Irfaan Ali has mandated that the Health Ministry vaccinate all adults by the end of 2021. Government has reiterated on many occasions that Guyana will not be deterred by vaccine price or other barriers. The Government has declared that it will invest as necessary to protect the Guyanese people.
The Region Three COVID-19 Task Force hosted its first ‘drive-thru’ vaccination on June 19 at the Pouderoyen Market Tarmac, West Bank Demerara, and the next is expected to be held at the Synthetic Track and Field Facility at Leonora.
The Region Three Chamber of Commerce is encouraging and advocating for all right-thinking Guyanese to take advantage of the vaccination process that is currently being administered freely by health care professionals, as, in the future, those who did not receive their vaccine would have to pay at private entities for the same vaccine.
So far, Guyana has been able to secure vaccines and donations from: COVAX, Barbados, China, India, Dubai and the African Union/Caricom Agreement. This is available to benefit all Guyanese, but misguiding citizens with cheap politics will only cause the Opposition to haemorrhage further, as veteran People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member Thandi Mc Allister has this month also resigned from the party that she served for over 25 years, after highlighting that the Opposition has a poor vision for youths and the nation.
The Opposition Leader has openly declared that in vaccinating 223,659 persons with a first dose and the 92,157 fully vaccinated persons so far, the price paid was not worth it. No one that is fully vaccinated in Guyana has ended up in the ICU, and none has died. This investment in our people is entirely worth it.
The world must emerge from this pandemic with as many people as possible vaccinated. To achieve that, people in politics must leave judgements on vaccination safety and efficacy to the independent experts that they have entrusted with making these decisions.
Harmon must be reminded that if he is interested in the next elections, dead supporters will not assist him in any way. Currently, Government is embracing all religions, races, sexual orientations and everyone in society to take the vaccine to safeguard themselves and their families.
Mr Harmon should rethink his posture, and instead advocate for all to take the vaccine, since he is not a scientist, and should not be making claims about the vaccine without any foundation of a scientific nature.

Halim Khan
President of the Region Three Chamber of Commerce