Guyana: Health Advisor Dr. Leslie Ramsammy says over 115,000 persons inoculated against COVID

—  slams `whisper campaign’ against vaccine

By broek News

Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to the Minister of Health today said that over 115,000 persons had been inoculated against the Coronavirus and he slammed what he called a “whisper campaign” against the vaccines.

An edited version of a statement he issued today follows:

By the end of today, Guyana would have vaccinated more than 115,000 persons with a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Already more than 1,800 persons have also received a second dose of the vaccines, thus, being fully vaccinated.     

In an unfair world where vaccines have not been distributed equitably and where developing countries have been scrounging around, trying to find vaccines for their people, Guyana has done an amazing job of acquiring vaccines and rolling out the vaccines to people across the country. The country has acquired enough vaccines to fully vaccinate 261,000 persons and the President and the government are actively negotiating to procure enough vaccines for more than 500,000 persons.  It is a massive undertaking, but the government is determined to keep our country safe.

It is critical that every adult person living in Guyana be vaccinated. Guyanese have never had a problem with vaccination. We presently use twenty different vaccines in our country. Every child receives as many as eighteen vaccines and Guyana is always, on an annual basis, vaccinating close to 100% of our children. Thus, it is with concern that vaccination teams are encountering a high level of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in certain communities in Guyana. The Ministry of Health has been working actively to dispel the rumours and fake stories that, unfortunately, have been circulating about the COVID-19. vaccines.

After more than 115,000 persons receiving vaccines in Guyana, there has been no adverse event caused by the vaccines. Minor side effects such as a fever, chills, pain at the site of the injection are normal side effects of any vaccine. A billion persons around the world have also taken the vaccines and there is no reason to doubt the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Already, where the vaccines have been administered in any meaningful amount, the number of COVID-19 cases have dropped and the number of deaths have dropped. Clearly, many developed countries are vaccinating themselves out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guyana is endeavoring to do the same.

But the stories circulating about the vaccines have misrepresented the truth. Unfortunately, these absurd, reckless stories are part of an active anti-vaccine campaign that appears to be centrally directed. We should all be saddened by this deliberate effort to slow down the vaccination campaign. The anti-vaccine campaign is sinister and the people pushing the ugly stories know they are fabricating stories because they themselves have taken the vaccine. It is reprehensible and represents the highest, most ugly example of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

Make no mistake, this active whisper campaign in certain communities is deliberate. Having visited some of these communities in Region 2,3,4,5,6 and 10 and having spoken to persons in Regions 1,7,8 and 9, the same narrative is evident in these communities. These were the communities where APNU/AFC did well in the March 2020 elections. In all of these communities, COVID-19 Vaccine uptake is low. It is counter to national interest to sugar-coat this reality. The circumstances demand bluntness, this is no time for diplomatic language. The lives of our people are at risk and those who peddle fake stories about the COVID-19 vaccines deserve condemnation. It is a shameless act to put people’s lives at risk.

The fact is that the MOH operate about one hundred fixed-sites around the country. These are health facilities, such as hospitals and health centres. The fixed sites that are located in communities that are solidly supportive of APNU/AFC have had lower uptake of the vaccines. We have tried, in addition to these fixed-site vaccination centers, to reach out to persons via community outreaches. We will continue to reach out to people. We will go out to all communities, with repeat attempts, as many times as possible.

We thank those community leaders that have assisted us. We thank the business communities for their robust efforts to encourage their employees. We thank the religious leaders who have come out with enthusiasm to assist the MOH and the health workers. The Pandits, Imams and Pastors that have supported the MOH represent a major reason for the vaccination success so far. For those leaders, business and religious, who are still on the sideline, being bystanders, I urge you to become voices for a good cause.

Noticeably absent from those who have publicly supported the vaccination programme has been the leaders of APNU/AFC. These leaders have taken the vaccines, have requested waivers of requirements to facilitate relatives and friends who did not meet eligibility when there was an age limitation. Yet, they have been very silent about urging their supporters to take the vaccines.

The Ministry of Health today reported 214 new cases of COVID-19.

Its dashboard also said that 16 persons are in the ICU. The death toll remains at 277
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Comments

  • Linda  On 04/24/2021 at 7:10 am

    “Every child receives as many as eighteen vaccines and Guyana is always, on an annual basis, vaccinating close to 100% of our children.”

    That is unbelievable!!!! Why is it that children require so many vaccines?

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