Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon today called for a suspension of the use of the Sputnik V vaccine in Guyana over unsubstantiated concerns about its authenticity.
“The APNU+AFC demands that these vaccines should be put on a hold until the population is given an assurance that what we are dealing is not a bogus transaction and that we are dealing with safe arrangement…My concern is that we get the real thing here in Guyana,” Harmon said during a press conference.
However, the Opposition Leader has admitted that he is fully inoculated with the very Sputnik V vaccine he is encouraging persons not to take.
“I myself have taken the Sputnik V, first dose and second dose,” Harmon confessed.
Notwithstanding, he is contending that “I have encouraged the people to take the vaccines but I have put a rider, a caveat that this particular batch, we need to have clarity on that…”
In the same breath, the Opposition Leader said he refuses to accept responsibility if Guyanese fall ill or die as a result of his call for them to not take the Sputnik V vaccines.
Several government officials have since condemned the APNU+AFC Opposition over its reckless position on the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, in a social media post, shared a message which reads “The Ministry of Health rejects the Leader of the Opposition’s malicious statement, which is intended to add to the whisper campaign in communities to slow down the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.”
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, also in a social media post, outlined that:
“No doubt, it has already been recognized that the main opposition in Guyana, APNU/AFC, has moved from a position of utter incompetence and absolute irrelevance to being outrageous, malicious and in some cases even comical.
“The Government of Guyana is recognized in the Caribbean for its stellar smooth and expeditious procurement of an adequate supply of vaccines against the Covid-19 virus. Indeed, Guyana, has thus far, procured the largest quantity of vaccines among countries in the Region.
“In any normal society, the procurement of an adequate supply of suitable medication in a public health pandemic will receive the commendation of every leader in that society.
“Expectedly, the APNU/AFC leadership is incapable of such gesture. Instead, with characteristic negativity, they have begun to undermine the Government’s efforts, even fabricating and concocting in their attempts to denigrate.
“They first started with the price of the vaccines, failing to recognize the distinction between the World Health Organization recommended prices and the prices generated by the global market demands.
“Now they have commenced a campaign to denigrate the quality of the vaccines. Joseph Harmon now demands an explanation of the vaccines’ “chain of custody” from the time it leaves the factory, to its arrival in Guyana!
“The particular vaccine to which Mr. Harmon refers is Sputnik, the very one which he chose to take. Now that he is immunized, he castigates the very vaccine, implicitly encouraging others not to take it!”
Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, according to a Demerara Waves article, posited that Guyana will continue using the Sputnik V vaccines as they are safe and effective.
The Health Ministry had last evening issued a statement rejecting the Opposition’s claims and assuring that the vaccines available in Guyana are safe and were not obtained through illegal means.