THE Ministry of Health has been aiming to scale up its vaccination efforts but the suggestion of giving a monetary sum to people who come forward for vaccination could be seen as coercive action and is certainly not feasible, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.
Though Guyana’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been progressing well, there is still some amount of vaccine hesitancy.
But, the Health Ministry said that much of the local vaccine hesitancy is linked to misinformation and must be combatted through education.
The ministry also noted that some people may be deliberately misrepresenting the vaccination rollout and have offered suggestions that are not feasible.
“Vaccination in Guyana, COVID-19 or not, is voluntary and the (Government of Guyana) has never in more than 60 years of the vaccination programme, ever made vaccination mandatory. Vaccination is also free in Guyana.
“In a sense, payment to take any vaccine is a coercive action, forcing people to take the vaccine to receive a $25,000 payment. The government has previously provided $25,000 per household as COVID-19 relief. But that relief fund was not conditional on persons following any of the public health measures,” the ministry stated.
The ministry reminded members of the public that vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue, exacerbated by unfounded myths and fake stories. Such things, the ministry said, harms the people who fall prey.
“We all would like to return to a state of normalcy and to do so, we must do our part in addressing vaccine hesitancy. Each of us who know better must encourage and educate others to come forward and take their vaccines to reach herd immunity, the statement noted and emphasised: “It would be difficult for us to achieve herd immunity if we are intentionally or unintentionally sewing distrust.”
The ministry lauded officials for taking the vaccines and encourages others to do the same.
On Friday, it was noted that Opposition APNU+AFC Member of Parliament and Shadow Health Minister, Dr. Karen Cummings, took her jab and encouraged others to do the same.
Meanwhile, as the ministry attempts to reduce vaccine hesitancy locally, it was noted that the local authorities are hoping to surpass more than 150,000 COVID-19 vaccinations this weekend.
Currently, more than 132,000 people have been vaccinated locally.