‘We cannot expose children to unvaccinated teachers’
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FLASHBACK: A student of the West Demerara Secondary School is sanitised before she goes into her classroom (Delano Williams photo)
FLASHBACK: A student of the West Demerara Secondary School is sanitised before she goes into her classroom (Delano Williams photo)

— President Ali

AS the government pursues the reopening of schools in September, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali has insisted that “We surely cannot expose the children to unvaccinated teachers.”

He told a virtual news conference, on Monday, that too many lives are being lost due to the novel coronavirus, and that persons ought to ensure they are fully vaccinated against the deadly disease.

“I am sure that the teachers are responsible enough to understand this, and understand the importance of vaccination,” President Ali opined.

He recognised too that the existence of the Delta variant can possibly pave the way for more variants of the virus to emerge. “This is not an easy battle,” President Ali emphasised.

He said that since assuming office on August 2, 2020, the government has invested heavily to ensure that enough vaccines are procured to inoculate Guyana’s entire adult population. “Nothing can be excellent if one life is lost… I am aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and country if people are not vaccinated, and that is what worries me,” Dr. Ali said.

The Head of State reflected that all things considered, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has been doing the best that it possibly can to ensure that Guyanese are able to become vaccinated. Since the emergence of the coronavirus in December 2020, vaccination has been deemed the only safe way for the world to exit the current pandemic.

“Any decision you make, this battle has elements of risks. You just have to measure those elements of risks and make the best possible decision in a holistic interest of the country,” Dr. Ali posited.

Even as he is calling on teachers to become vaccinated, President Ali and his Cabinet are also aggressively pursuing the acquisition of the Pfizer vaccines, which is expected to be reserved for youths between the ages of 12 and 18. Once the vaccines arrive in Guyana, President Ali said, “We expect children to take it.”

Within the last few months, Guyana was hit with the harsh realities that even children are not spared by the virus. Moreover, the country had recorded a spike in the number of children who have been contracting the virus. As it is, at least three children have already succumbed to the virus.

The government is hoping that the vaccination of as many children as possible would pave the way for the safe reopening of schools, the majority of which have been closed to physical learning for more than a year.

Citing the seriousness of learning loss, the Ministry of Education had moved to reinstitute physical learning for learners who are preparing for key examinations such as the National Grade Six Assessment as well as the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate.

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