Health Minister says mandatory COVID vaccination encourages ‘safe environment’

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With employees in the private sector being told to get a COVID-19 vaccine or present a negative PCR-COVID-19 test weekly, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday said this is one way of “encouraging a safe environment.”

Further, “as people get serious and understand the implications of this virus more people would try to implement systems like this,” the minister said during the his COVID-19 Update on Tuesday.

When asked if the government intends to make vaccination mandatory, the minister said the government is “looking at what is evolving from an epidemiological point of view and we would take all the necessary steps to ensure that people are protected.”

Dr Anthony also noted countries are now making vaccination mandatory to protect against the more severe and deadly delta variant of the virus.

He explained that unless the population is fully vaccinated then more people will get infected and even die.

Dr Anthony said places offering public service with unvaccinated staff are putting coworkers and the general public at risk of contracting the virus.

A major challenge is misinformation and distrust on social media about the vaccines. Guyana currently offers the Sinopharm, Sputnik V and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The Giftland OfficeMax in a recent statement said staff who have not taken their COVID-19 vaccines, will be required to present a negative (PCR) COVID-19 test at the beginning of each work week.

The local business referenced recent statements made by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), endorsing strict COVID-19 measures for unvaccinated people.

A PCR test costs $15,000 to $25,000, while the Antigen COVID-19 test costs about $8,000. Tests from the Ministry of Health are free but are only accessible if you show signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

To date, 51.1 per cent of the adult population has received their first dose of vaccine while 27.5 percent have been fully vaccinated.

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