Guyana’s Minister of Health warns of vaccine hesitancy – NationNews Barbados – nationnews.com
GEORGETOWN – Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday urged Guyanese to get vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and also accused religious leaders and leaders of Native American peoples of hesitation and misinformation about vaccines.
“Some of the leaders of the communities, it could be a mixture of the Toshaos or sometimes, in other cases, you could have other religious leaders peddling his type of misinformation.
“They’re not doing their communities a good service, they’re actually putting their communities at risk and we would really like to encourage them to refrain from doing that,” Dr Anthony said speaking to the Daily Update. of COVID-19.
He said that as a result, the government plans to place at least two health workers in health centers in all communities.
“Part of the program would be to go out into the community, talk about vaccination, its importance and give people factual information,” said Dr Anthony, adding that due to misinformation, vaccines have been wasted.
He told reporters that once the vaccines come out of cold storage, they must be fully utilized because “once you start doing that, there’s no going back, you can’t go back.” not refreeze it”.
“In some cases we’ve been to communities… of 300 and after being there for about a day, you probably have about four or five people showing up,” Dr Anthony said.
“They are anti-vaccine, they don’t believe in the benefits of the vaccine and they have repeatedly undermined the message of the Ministry of Health and other health authorities.”
The Minister of Health also warned that Guyana, despite lifting the nationwide curfew and easing several other measures aimed at containing the spread of the pandemic, may struggle to fully reopen at unless more people are vaccinated.
“Countries that are currently trying to open their economy are countries where they have had high vaccination rates not only with the two doses but also with the booster dose and thanks to that they are able to open their economy with very little consequence, but we’re not there yet because our booster doses, absorption is still relatively low,” he said.
“We can create access; we can make vaccines available, but it’s people who come to get vaccinated, it’s a two-way process as we put a lot of effort into these things to see that particular effort from people. So whether it’s the community, community leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, everyone has a role to play in encouraging people to come and get vaccinated,” said Dr Anthony.
Guyana administered more than 430,000 first doses of vaccines, representing 83.9% of the adult population. Authorities said around 395,000 more people have now been fully vaccinated, representing 63% of the population.
In August last year, the rollout of the vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 began with 45.7% receiving their first dose and 32.9% receiving their second dose.
Last December authorities began administering booster doses and so far 48,669 people have received the third injection. (CMC)