Medical practitioners warned of consequences for falsely approving Covid vaccine exemptions

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Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has warned of consequences for medical practitioners who erroneously approve Covid-19 vaccine exemptions for persons who are eligible to take the jabs.

In fact, he said some of these alleged exemptions are currently under investigation.

“Some of those letters that have been issued, we are investigating them. If they were issued without proper medical information, let’s say somebody just issue a letter of exemption without doing proper investigations and so forth…then we are going to put those medical practitioners before the Medical Council,” Dr Anthony warned.

The Medical Council of Guyana is a licensing and regulatory body formed to enhance and monitor the functioning of the medical fraternity in Guyana.

Last month, the organisation had issued a statement warning medical professionals not to discourage vaccination against the novel coronavirus.

“Physicians who use their position of authority to denigrate vaccination at a time when vaccines continue to demonstrate excellent effectiveness against severe COVID 19 illness, hospitalization and death are not only constitutionally unethical but also unprofessional and dangerous,” the Council had said.

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony has since posited that the only persons medically exempted from taking the vaccine are those who have an allergic reaction to drugs or any of the components contained in the shots.

In August 2021, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Narine Singh had announced that persons with certain underlying medical conditions like clotting disorders or those receiving chemotherapy or dialysis, may be exempted from taking the vaccine.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women were initially exempted but the Health Minister has advised that this is no longer the case.

Dr Anthony explained that in order for a pregnant person to be exempted, “the physician who is issuing an exemption needs to concur with the CMO and then once the two of them are in concurrence, then an exemption letter would be issued.”

The Ministry of Health today commenced a campaign whereby doctors will be visiting various clinics to educate pregnant and breastfeeding women on the safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines which are now available to this category of persons.

“There have been a lot of myths that pregnant women should not be vaccinated and even among the obstetricians in Guyana, they had mixed views so, we having been working with the obstetricians, I think by and large, we now have a consensus from the obstetrics fraternity here that the vaccines are safe,” Dr Anthony explained.

“In a survey that was done with some women, it was found that they prefer the Pfizer vaccines and that’s why we have extended the use of the Pfizer vaccines to this population,’ the Minister added.