Aug 27, 2021 News
– say they won’t be forced to get vaccinated
Kaieteur News – Scores of medical personnel from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) were yesterday locked outside of the health care facility due to the fact that they were unvaccinated and could not provide a negative PCR test.
This is in keeping with the Government’s “no vaccine, no entry” policy. Earlier in the month, the Ministry had announced that unvaccinated health care workers will be given up to yesterday, Wednesday, August 26, 2021, to at least take the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, before the Government’s mandatory vaccine or negative PCR requirement came into effect at the hospital.
According to a letter seen by this publication, from the Director of the Hospital’s Human Resources Manager, Odessa Wickham, copied to the heads of the hospital department, the hospital remains committed in its mandate to ensure the health and wellbeing of all staff under its preview and by extension, the Guyanese people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the safety of our employees cannot be emphasized enough.
The letter further stated that effective from yesterday, the hospital will be enforcing the COVID-19 protocols in accordance to “The Official Gazette 29th July, 2021, Legal Supplement – B” that governs the COVID-19 measures.
However, the healthcare workers who were locked out of GPHC were adamant that they should not be forced to take the vaccine since it is their human right and also that if the hospital wants them to provide a negative PCR test regularly, then the hospital should foot the bill.
They argue that it is unconstitutional to force them to make a medical choice, more so when they are not “adequately informed” on the harmlessness of the vaccine.
Over 50 unvaccinated staffers of the GPHC were locked out of the compound. Yesterday morning, when Kaieteur News visited the hospital, the unvaccinated hospital employees were standing in front of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit with their umbrellas due to the fact that it was raining.
One staffer, a doctor, stated, “We are not against anyone taking the vaccine or the government’s effort to achieve herd immunity but it is the manner in which they are doing it that concerns me.”
He further noted, “The same compound that we worked at throughout the pandemic last year without any vaccine, the same compound, they are locking us out of because we are executing our right to not be vaccinated… We are locked out of one of the busiest health care facilities because of the Government’s forceful measure to implement the vaccine on us.”
Other frontline workers stressed that just like how other persons can choose to take the vaccine, they would appreciate having the same opportunity so that they can chose whether or not they want to be vaccinated.
While speaking to this publication, another health care worker stated that instead of being forced to take the vaccine, why not better educate them since most of the frontline workers are skeptical about the vaccine.
Other hospital staffer stated, “If this vaccine was really working, we would have had to be paying for it to protect ourselves against the virus,” and “Why should we be forced to take the vaccine then we have to treat unvaccinated patients regardless, this is nonsense. Those unvaccinated patients have the right to not be vaccinated and same goes for us, we will not be forced.”
Same sentiments were shared by other medical personnel, who made it clear that unless the government reviews these measures, they refuse to be forced to put something into their body without knowing the effect it can have on them.
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