Ministry tackling COVID vaccination in bilingual communities

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The Ministry of Health has translated the COVID-19 vaccination messages in all nine indigenous languages in an effort to overcome the hesitancy of some persons to take the vaccine.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, during his daily COVID-19 Update on Tuesday, said the language barrier in indigenous communities proved challenging. He assured the ministry is addressing the issue.

“In an effort to reach people and to get over these messages, the Ministry has been able to hire someone who translated messages pertaining to vaccination – the importance of vaccination [and] the safety of vaccines – in all of the indigenous languages,” Dr Anthony said.

These messages have been playing as public service announcements and on local radio stations with the hope that this would help persons to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.

Apart from the challenge with indigenous languages, there are also persons living in these communities who speak Portuguese and Spanish. Dr Anthony also noted that persons have also being working with these bilingual or trilingual communities.

Additionally, Dr Anthony revealed that they are further confronted with another challenge where faith based leaders are also influencing persons to not get vaccinated.

“We want to urge these leaders and the churches which they are affiliated with nationally for those national leaders to talk to them about the importance of vaccination,” Dr Anthony said.

The Health Minister continues to encourage persons to get vaccinated so that they can be protected from the more severe and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.

Overall, some 247,940 individuals, or 50.9 per cent of the adult population, have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while some 135,785 people or 26.9 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated.

There are currently 60 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 with 49 in the Infectious Disease Hospital at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara including nine patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Dr Anthony also revealed that the ICU capacity at the hospital has now increased to cater for 45 patients.

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