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Teachers in Guyana have been assured by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) that the COVID-19 vaccine remains optional to them and that those planning to take the vaccine will be provided with all the information they need in the interest of their awareness and safety.
At a Zoom meeting on Tuesday during which the Union spoke to several matters, administration of the vaccine was one of the concerns raised. Within the chat of the platform, there was some misconception that all teachers were mandated to take the vaccine following the sharing of a presentation by a teacher.
“The Guyana Teachers’ Union is in no way saying that you have to take the vaccine,” GTU President, Mark Lyte clarified. “We are just helping with some research data which we believe will be useful to you as you contemplate making your decision.”
Sensitization documents have been sent out to schools for teachers regarding the facts surrounding vaccination and the importance and benefits of being vaccinated.
Added to this, GTU General Secretary, Coretta McDonald explained to teachers still sceptical about the process that when it comes to the actual issuance of the vaccines additional health workers will be present to answer newly arising questions.
“So, for those teachers who have been worried and other teachers who have health issues and they were saying they needed to have some more information…yes, you’re free to do that [seek out additional information],” she said.
Whether they choose to take the vaccine or not, McDonald encouraged teachers to take COVID-19 real by staying away from crowded areas, wearing their masks correctly and washing their hands, actions which can set a positive example. She said that the negligence of one person can affect an entire community.
She implored: “We cannot continue to gamble and make jokes with the lives of our teachers, the lives of our pupils and students, and, like everything else, their parents who form part of the community and the villages, the towns and everywhere else. COVID-19 is real and we ought to stop joking around thinking it;’s not real.”