Last Updated on Sunday, 18 July 2021, 15:27 by Denis Chabrol
Health Ministerial Adviser, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy on Sunday endorsed France’s model to only allow vaccinated or weekly negative tested frontline workers to go to work.
“If you want to exercise a right to not take the vaccine you must be prepared to face the consequences at your cost, not mine. France is doing the right thing. We must all do the same,” he said on his Facebook page.
When asked by News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News whether Guyana was heading in this direction, he said “not at this time.”
The sister-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-state of Belize has already put in place a similar system. The Belizean government, by way of an order that has been published in the Official Gazette, says that, “a frontline worker who fails to comply with this regulation shall be deemed absent from work and subject to disciplinary proceedings in accordance with any law that regulates the services of that frontline worker.” Belize’s list of frontline workers include healthcare workers, police, soldiers, teachers, tourism workers, customs officers, immigration officers, public transportation workers and public utility workers.
Dr. Ramsammy, a former Guyana Health Minister, described French President’s Emmanuel Macron’s announcement as “the most comprehensive policy” which aims to preserve non-compulsory vaccination but takes steps to protect vaccinated citizens from those who are not. “While someone has a right to refuse the vaccine those persons do not have a right to expose the rest of us to their reckless risks,” he said.
The Health Ministerial Advisor notes that in France a health worker, teacher, police or other frontline workers can only go to work if they are vaccinated or produce a weekly test result “at their own personal cost” to show that they are negative.
Latest available figures from the Ministry of Health shows that 241,680 persons or 50 percent of Guyana’s adult population have received a first dose COVID-19 vaccine and 126,620 or 26 percent of adults are fully protected against the coronavirus.
The Health Ministry said that as of Saturday 509 persons have died of the virus since last year March.