APNU’s Dr Cummings maintains COVID-19 vaccines a ‘powerful,’ ‘effective’ public health tool
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Karen: APNU+AFC Parliamentarian, Dr. Karen Cummings
Karen: APNU+AFC Parliamentarian, Dr. Karen Cummings

— after colleague Parliamentarian Jermaine Figueira advocates herbal treatment for the deadly virus

EVEN as her colleague A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Parliamentarian, Jermaine Figueira, makes a case for herbal medication as a remedy for the dreaded effects of COVID-19, Dr. Karen Cummings, who served as junior minister of the former Public Health Ministry, now Ministry of Health, has maintained that COVID-19 vaccines are a powerful and effective public health tool.

In Guyana, some 320,747 persons or 62.5 per cent of the country’s adult population have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 168,201 persons or 32.8 per cent of the adult population are fully inoculated. Added to this, within the space of about two weeks, 9,909 adolescents have taken the Pfizer vaccine.

As a result of the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign, from sourcing to administration, persons in Guyana have had the benefit of being vaccinated with one of six vaccines, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, or Pfizer.

Jermaine: APNU+AFC Parliamentarian, Jermaine Figueira

The Government of Canada, like many other countries and institutions across the world, has said that vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect families and communities from COVID-19.

“Evidence indicates that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19, including against Alpha and Delta variants of concern. Recent reports in Canada indicate that less than one per cent of those who were fully vaccinated have become sick with COVID-19,” the Canadian government stated on its official website.

Agreeing with global findings and basing her comments on the evidence that exists, Dr. Cummings said: “We in the APNU+AFC continue to reiterate that vaccines provide a powerful and effective public health tool to prevent serious infectious hospitalisation and deaths.”

This has been something which the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has stated time and again, all in an attempt to encourage Guyanese to embrace the government’s vaccination drive and response to COVID-19.

“Once people are vaccinated, environments will be safer and we have to create a safe environment if we are to push back against the virus,” the Health Minister said on Monday during the daily COVID-19 update.

In a comment which contrasted the view of not only the minister, but also his colleague, Figueira advocated the use of herbal remedies to treat persons infected with COVID-19, even with there being no evidence to substantiate the effectiveness of this method of treatment.

Though not citing specific evidence, the Parliamentarian during a Zoon meeting with residents of Region 10, said: “We have a number of Guyanese who would have contracted COVID… they used other forms of remedies, local, herbal remedies and they recovered. Bonafide testimonies of persons who were infected with COVID and they recovered. What is in those remedies? We have scientists, can those scientists take into consideration what these people would have used and probably have the population also consider that option to protect them from COVID?”
With there being no approved herbal medication for COVID-19, authorities have warned time and again that self-treatment is not safe. And while the prowess of herbal medication in the treatment of certain ailments is undeniable, there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.

Uncertainty, rumours and misinformation are things which Dr. Cummings criticised the government for not addressing adequately, but reports show that several members of the APNU+AFC have been actively participating in the misinformation campaign.

Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, who is fully vaccinated, had hosted a press conference and called for the administering of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine to be suspended, claiming that it could be fake. It is the same vaccine that he himself had been inoculated with.

Nonetheless, Harmon’s utterances were soon put to rest, as the manufacturers of the vaccine responded with documentation which attested to the authenticity of the jabs.
Although unfounded, the Opposition Leader’s criticisms had caused some amount of injury to the national vaccination efforts.

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