The news that only 54 per cent of Guyanese are fully vaccinated is cause for real concern, considering the emergence of the new Omicron variant creating some panic across the world.
I share the President’s and Minister of Health’s concern that more people need to rush to get vaccinated. The government has done its part to secure vaccines, some of which will expire soon. It will be very sad if taxpayers’ money spent on vaccines for our people expire for lack of folks following up to get their initial vaccination or their second or booster dose. I say the government should give a deadline for everyone to be vaccinated and beyond that deadline, start charging for the vaccines if people are that reckless to not get vaccinated.
We cannot predict how many new variants will emerge and what harm can be caused, but we do know that it’s easier for variants to emerge in situations where there is no “herd immunity”. Getting one dose only does not create herd immunity; we need to get the second dose and booster dose. Already some countries are banning travel from countries where the Omicorn variant has showed up. New York City has declared a state of emergency and similar actions may spread across the world.
I have a relative who got the first dose of the vaccine. I asked her why is she dilly-dallying to get the second dose and she said she is waiting to be called for the second dose. I told her she should be the one calling and going after the vaccine since she is seriously diabetic with some toes amputated.
The government must be stricter with public workers getting fully vaccinated. What percentage of public service workers is vaccinated? What percentage of teachers and nurses are now vaccinated? We cannot afford another set of lockdowns and closures of work sites. We cannot afford more money for ongoing COVID relief. We want to reopen the economy so there can be full production and work activities.
The unions are quick to ask for hefty pay raises, but they have failed to mobilise their workers to get fully vaccinated. This is simply reckless as the health and wellness of workers and the nation come first. The unions must change their ways and make sure all their members are vaccinated; same for the Opposition and other political parties, churches, non-profit and other civic organisations. We need everyone to get onboard now and let’s mobilise more people to get their second doses, and booster doses. Also, we need more children to take advantage of the vaccines available for the younger ones.
Nation, now is not the time for complacency. We must all pull together and encourage friends, neighbours and relatives to get fully vaccinated now. These are troubling times.
Dr. Jerry Jailall