Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony says that Region 10 continues to be the district with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate and much of the hesitancy, is being created by ‘political mischief’.
Region 10 is a stronghold of the main Parliamentary Opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), and since government began including vaccination requirements into its COVID-19 measures, many Lindeners and other persons from within the region, have protested. The APNU+AFC has maintained that while it supports vaccination, taking a jab must remain a choice. It says that the imposition of vaccine requirements is tantamount to disregarding the rights of people.
Demonstrations were held today in Region Seven with scores of residents protesting the measures.
Minister Anthony, however, says that all citizens must get vaccinated. The amended measures now require any person, who wishes to enter public buildings, privately owned businesses, schools, and places of worship, to be vaccinated or provide a negative PCR test taken within the past seven days. Last month, public transportation operators were required to get vaccinated, while government ministries and agencies were asked to only let in vaccinated persons. The unvaccinated were told to make appointments to access services.
He insisted that these measures are aimed that providing a safer environment for all Guyanese. He added that the ‘anti-vaxxers’ in Region 10 are “clutching at anything that they can to just tarnish the work that the staff is doing in terms of vaccination and managing COVID-19”.
He noted that unfortunately this type of ‘political mischief’ will create a lot of hesitancy in people’s minds. As such, they will not get vaccinated therefore putting themselves more at risk of contracting COVID-19. Dr. Anthony further called on persons to desist from circulating rumours about COVID-19 and the vaccine.
“I would urge those persons who call themselves leaders in Region Ten to really work in the interests of the citizens of region 10 and desist from this nonsense of trying to spread rumors and creating this type of hesitancy in the region. As it is right now region Ten is the region with the lowest rates of vaccination for both first and second doses, and that has put them at severe risk of infection. So, you know, if we continue along this way all we’re doing is endangering people’s lives there.”
Meanwhile, several regional leaders including the Linden Mayor, with support from APNU+AFC parliamentarians, initiated a shutdown today of the district to protest the measures.
APNU+AFC Parliamentarian, Devin Sears, earlier today posted pictures on his Facebook page of shuttered businesses in Linden.
He wrote: “Today Region #10 residents and businesses stood up against dictatorship and forced vaccinations; we are playing our part, it is time for the rest of Guyana join.”