‘Blue book’ racket causing shut down of some vaccination sites

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By Vishani Ragobeer

[email protected]

The forgery and illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccination cards, commonly called the vaccination ‘blue books’, has caused the local health authorities to shut down some vaccination sites.

This was related by Advisor to the Ministry of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy during an interview with the News Room on Tuesday.

As Guyana expanded the administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, there have been at least 100 fixed vaccination sites created. These were established to allow easy access to the vaccines, as part of efforts to increase vaccination uptake.

Soon after vaccination requirements were instituted, requiring that people present proof of vaccination of the results of a negative COVID-19 PCR test for entry into most buildings, a challenge emerged. That is, some individuals started forging and illegally selling blank, unstamped vaccine cards.

Advisor to the Ministry of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy (Photo: News Room/December 7, 2021)

 

The Ministry of Health has tried to curb this issue but on Tuesday, during his daily COVID-19 update, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said that police officers continue to investigate reports of the illegal activity.

“… the fake vaccine cards continue to be an issue and a few of the people working in these sites have been implicated and have been arrested.

“We feel that there might be more scrutiny needed and we have closed some of the centres,” Dr. Ramsammy said on Tuesday.

The Advisor acknowledged that the shut down of some sites might inconvenience people seeking to get vaccinated. He, however, said that the vaccine racket was endangering the lives of people.

Because a fake vaccine card may dissuade someone from getting vaccinated, that means that the individual may be exposed to the more severe symptoms of the disease COVID-19. Additionally, that individual may lead to the further spread of the novel coronavirus.

The News Room was informed that at least one vaccination site on the East Coast of Demerara was shut down because an attendant was nabbed with four stolen vaccination cards.

A regional official, who wished to remain unnamed, said that this site was closed because there were several other workers involved.

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