Advisor to the Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy contends that communities where the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) “did well” in the March 2020 General and Regional Elections have recorded low uptakes of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Make no mistake, this active whisper campaign in certain communities is deliberate. Having visited some of these communities in Regions 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 former Health Minister said in statement to the media today.
Dr Ramsammy is now appealing to the public to dismiss rumours and to take the vaccine.
“The Ministry of Health has been working actively to dispel the rumors and fake stories that, unfortunately, have been circulating about the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are absolutely safe. The story that the vaccines contain a microchip to permit the government to spy on people is absurd. The opposition leaders and MPs who took the vaccines along with their families know that. The stories that the vaccines will turn people into some different kind of animal is plain craziness. The stories that the vaccines will make people impotent are patented fake news. The stories that the vaccines represent the Mark of the Beast mentioned in the bible is nonsense. The stories that dozens of people have already died from the vaccines are reckless. There are other unbelievably absurd stories that people spread. There is one truth – COVID-19 is a killer and the vaccines can help us stop it.,” he said.
He noted that more than 1,800 Guyanese have already taken their second dose and have become fully vaccinated against the disease which has claimed over 270 lives since March 2020.
He further noted that despite the unequitable and unfair distribution of vaccines to small states, Guyanese authorities have done “an amazing job” of acquiring vaccines and making them available to people across the country.
Dr Ramsammy revealed that the country has acquired enough vaccines to fully vaccinate 261,000 persons, and that the President and the government are actively negotiating to procure enough vaccines for more than 500,000 persons.
He pointed out no adverse effect has been reported by vaccine recipients aside from minor side-effects such as a fever, chills, pain at the site of the injection, which are normal vaccination effects.
“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,” he noted.
Dr Ramsammy said that while Guyana is endeavouring to do the same, 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,” he said.