The main Parliamentary Opposition is calling on citizens to down tools and partake in protest demonstrations against what it perceives to be an attempt by the government to ‘force’ COVID-19 vaccination upon the populace.
The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) has been on the frontline calling for the rights of people to be respected, advocating that it is a citizen’s right to choose to take a jab. Indeed, the government has made vaccination mandatory for specific persons operating in identified sectors of society. Notably, persons operating in the public transportation sector are required to be vaccinated. Also, unvaccinated persons desirous of accessing walk-in services at government ministries and agencies are asked to make appointments.
The Opposition is adamant that such provisions are discriminatory and will result in the unvaccinated not accessing basic services. Conversely, the government is praising the measure as the impetus behind increased vaccination numbers in all administration regions with the exception of Region 10 and Eight – APNU+AFC strongholds.
The Education Ministry has also asked parents to get children vaccinated as it gears up for the reopening of schools for the new academic year commencing in two weeks. Doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for children between the ages of 12 and 18, arrived in Guyana on Tuesday.
Also, teachers and administrative staff are required to get vaccinated or provide weekly PCR tests. The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) has already terminated all interactions on assessments with the Education Ministry until that measure is removed.
The APNU+AFC, in response, says “They want to force vaccination on you and your children”. The party will hold two demonstrations on Wednesday, with a “Unity March” in Linden and a protest slated to be held at the Square of the Revolution.
The government, however, says that unvaccinated persons are being used by the Opposition.
In response to APNU+AFC’s call for protests, the Government said, “Unvaccinated persons are being asked to assemble in large numbers to protest, thereby putting themselves at risk of being infected with COVID-19, so that those who are fully vaccinated can use their deaths to score political points.”
The APNU+AFC has assured that all COVID-19 measures will be in place.