GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Friday, May 7, 2021) — President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said the best option of Guyana exiting the COVID-19 pandemic is vaccination, and is imploring Guyanese to get immunised against the deadly disease.
The President made the call during an update to the nation, last evening, revealing that, as of May 6, more than 154,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered, accounting for 31 percent of the population, 18 years and older.
Explaining that this means, out of every 100 Guyanese, only 31 are vaccinated, President Ali noted, in terms of age distribution, 61 percent of the individuals 60 years and older, 29 percent of those in the 40 to 59 age range, and some 21 percent of the 18 to 49 age range, have received the first dose.
“We all know that the bulk of our population is the younger population. I want to take this opportunity to call on our young people to go out there and get vaccinated, to ensure that this is taken seriously. Not taking this seriously, puts at risk, your families, puts at risk your friends, community and your country,” Dr. Ali urged.
He disclosed that in Region Four, between 30 and 36 percent of the over-18 age range has been vaccinated; adding that the other nine administrative regions have had coverage, of between 30 to 36 percent of the population, 18 years and older — with the exception of Regions Eight and 10.
The President said, “In two regions, we are not having this coverage. Particularly in the case of Region Ten, where only 8.9 percent of the population, above 18 years, took the first dose of the vaccine. This is very concerning. This is very alarming.”
Despite recent sensitisation campaigns in Region Ten, which were spearheaded by Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, President Ali said the region is still lagging.
He reasoned that Region Ten is the gateway to the interior, therefore, the government has to ensure that its citizens are protected against the disease, stating that the country’s porous borders pose a challenge.
To secure these borders, Dr. Ali said additional human resources from the National COVID-19 Task Force have been deployed to the regions.
“I [will] continue to appeal to every Guyanese, that though not mandatory at this stage, taking the vaccine is the best option we have, to save lives and exit the pandemic,” he argued.
The Head of State expressed concern about “whisper campaigns”, which seek to dissuade Guyanese from getting vaccinated, and he highlighted that these campaigns are not grounded in science or facts, and do not aid in protecting communities.
Notwithstanding this, President Ali gave his assurance that the government will continue to educate the public about the vaccination drive, and will also provide opportunities so that they can become vaccinated.
He also called on leaders in society to advocate for the administering of the COVID-19 vaccine: “I urge all those leaders, I urge every single leader, who took the vaccines or who understand the implications of not taking the vaccines, to join in the public education program and process. Not doing so is not fulfilling our responsibility. We have a duty and responsibility and, all of us, whether we have a small space in putting a comment on Facebook, an Instagram post, let us all take this responsibility serious, because you are as safe as the next person. So, if you take the vaccine and the next person doesn’t take the vaccine, then we’re still all exposed too.”
President Ali added that provisions are being made for citizens to receive their second doses of the vaccine.