–says Dr. Ramsammy
EVEN though Guyana continues to record high numbers of coronavirus cases and related deaths, data has shown that at least 99 per cent of all those who have died were unvaccinated.
As unfortunate as the figures may be, it also points to the fact that the vaccines being administered locally are working, and have been efficient in safeguarding the majority of vaccinated persons from hospitalisation and death.
Appearing on a recent edition of ‘Let’s Talk Politics’, hosted by Michael Gordon, Health Adviser, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy related that even though large numbers of persons have already been vaccinated, these figures are not large enough.
“We have administered more than 600,000 doses of vaccine; we have administered more than 360,000 first doses, and over 170,000 second doses,” Dr. Ramsammy related.
As it is, Guyana remains one of the very few countries that have managed to secure enough vaccines for its entire adult and adolescent population.
As a matter of fact, Guyana is also among the very few and fortunate developing countries that have commenced the vaccination of its adolescents.
“More than one-third of our adolescents are vaccinated,” Dr. Ramsammy said.
Delving further into the local COVID-19 statistics, the former Health Minister said that over 95 per cent of all positive COVID-19 cases are persons who have not been vaccinated.
Even further, Ramsammy said that data shows that 98 per cent of the people who end up being hospitalised, whether in wards or within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), are persons that are unvaccinated.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the people who die are unvaccinated,” Dr. Ramsammy reaffirmed.
To this end, he implored political leaders, particularly those within the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), to join in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and encourage members of their constituencies to get vaccinated.
Dr. Ramsammy said that while he is happy that the leadership of the APNU+AFC have taken their vaccines, he wants them to desist from encouraging the “my body, my choice” argument, and assist by informing “antivaxxers” about the need to be vaccinated, and for vaccination, and the role vaccines play in ensuring that the world is able to safely exit the ongoing pandemic.
“When political leaders support the “your body, your choice”, that is reckless, irresponsible and double-speak; we must not double speak,” Dr. Ramsammy posited, adding: “We all must do the right thing; political leaders must not play games.”
It was Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon who had called for a suspension of the administering of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, claiming it to be fake. This has since proven to be false.
Other APNU+AFC members such as Coretta McDonald have also initiated protests against the public health measures which require public servants and persons conducting business at public places to be vaccinated, or produce weekly PCR tests that confirm that they are COVID-19 negative.
In touching on the protest actions, Dr. Ramsammy reminded Guyanese that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has not made vaccination compulsory, but merely instituted requirements that seek to safeguard the country from further COVID-19-related devastation. Similar requirements are also being instituted in various parts of the world, including the United States.
“We have a government that recognises that we can’t put our lives on hold forever; you can go to work, market and grocery stores, but there are measures,” Dr. Ramsammy insisted.
In his plea for political leaders to do better, the Health Adviser pointed to the fact that recently, a team of public health workers from Georgetown travelled from 05:00hrs to provide support to their colleagues in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) who have been struggling in their efforts to get residents of some communities vaccinated.
“…between Belladrum and Hopetown, they stayed there until 2-3 in the afternoon. They walked every street; they did three vaccinations,” Ramsammy related.
He said that even though the effort might seem like “a waste of time,” it has still resulted in three more persons receiving the first dose of the vaccine, bringing them one step closer to being protected against the deadly virus, which continues to mutate to deadlier variants, including the Delta.
Even amid the push back, Dr. Ramsammy said that his team will continue to walk the communities and encourage persons to get vaccinated.