Dr Cummings urges public to take vaccine during APNU+AFC protest against Covid-19 measures

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Former Public Health Minister Dr Karen Cummings

Former Public Health Minister Dr Karen Cummings – during an APNU+AFC-organised protest against the recent Covid-19 measures announced by the Guyana Government – has encouraged the public to take the vaccine so that the country can achieve herd immunity.

“I will encourage the public to take the vaccine…it’s supposed to decrease symptoms, decrease hospitalisations, and decrease deaths,” the Opposition Parliamentarian expressed.

Several APNU+AFC politicians and supporters took to the Square of the Revolution today to protest against the new Covid-19 guidelines which require persons to be vaccinated before they can access certain facilities like restaurants, cinemas, and casinos. Additionally, the new measures mandate that public transportation operators must be vaccinated. The government is also in support of private companies mandating that unvaccinated employees to submit regular PCR tests at their own expense.

Unvaccinated persons are still able to access government services but they must first make appointments.

Dr Cummings, in responding to these measures, indicated that authorities should spend more time in trying to convince the population to take the vaccine.

“I think they should have spent some more time in educating the public…[vaccines are] a powerful tool and a public good…we should show them the pros and cons…we should try more in convincing them…there are a lot of myths we have to debunk and a lot of fake news out there…,” the former Health Minister explained.

According to her, the Opposition wants the country to achieve herd immunity and she encouraged persons to research the benefits of the vaccine and try to understand the importance of taking it.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Opposition Parliamentarian Amanza Walton-Desir who said government’s ‘seemingly mandatory’ approach “is likely to cause more harm and more descension than good”.

She contended that “we unequivocally support vaccination but we cannot ignore the fact that people have legal rights. I have taken the vaccine, but I must also respect the right of my fellow citizen not to take it.”

Walton-Desir also encouraged more public awareness and educational drives on the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This protest by the APNU+AFC comes after Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon would have contributed to the national vaccine hesitancy by casting doubts on the authenticity of the Sputnik V vaccine which are being used in Guyana.

To date, 254,883 persons have received a first dose, representing 52.4% of the adult population whereas 142,114 persons received a second dose, representing 29.2%.