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..Dr. Carpen says those who do so endanger themselves
Recently, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) announced an investigation into an alleged forgery of a COVID-19 vaccination certificate by a woman who falsified the signature of a health worker on the card. There have also been rumours of other such forgery being offered to persons who have not taken the vaccine but wish to brandish the Immunization Booklet.
In an interview with the Village Voice News, Head of Medical Services and Cardiology at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Mahendra Carpen said that not only is such an act criminal, but it puts the guilty individual(s) at risk more than anyone else.
“Anyone who is guilty of committing such an action, which is to forge vaccination evidence, so to speak, is not doing themselves any favour because they are not protected against COVID-19. They are also at higher risk than the truly vaccinated person for contracting COVID, and not just contracting and becoming infected, but getting severe COVID,” Dr. Carpen said.
He explained severe COVID as involving being admitted to the ICU, being put on a ventilator or even death. The majority of persons who have died in Guyana from the virus or have been placed in the COVID-19 ICU were those not vaccinated.
Dr. Carpen added: “Another thing to consider is that this may be a criminal offence very similar to someone who has a contagious disease or infection that can knowingly spread to others and they don’t disclose this fact to persons around them.”
Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, responding to the same matter on Friday, also cautioned that vaccination forgery will result in serious consequences. “We are going to take very stringent, serious actions against persons who try to forge these certificates because it’s a really serious matter. If you’re not vaccinated and you then tender some document to pretend that you have been vaccinated then you should face the full brunt of the law because you’re putting yourself at risk and you’re putting others at risk,” he said. The Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation to ensure there are no recurrences.
Even so, whether or not a person decides to forge a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, the records of the Ministry of Health will display accurate information. However, the Head of Medical Services said that Guyanese who know of persons forging vaccination certificates or immunization cards in one way or the other have a responsibility to alert authorities.
“If you know something, you should say something..it is important that we all recognize that it’s a collective responsibility of each individual of society. It is not a government responsibility, it is not an organization’s responsibility, each person has their own personal responsibility,” Dr. Carpen said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony also provided an update that the Government of Guyana has not yet decided whether it will implement a COVID-19 travel certificate or vaccine passport, but discussions are continuing.
There are now over 215,700 persons in Guyana who have received the first COVID-19 dose or 44.3 percent of the adult population. Meanwhile, over 81,700 persons have received the second dose or about 16.8 percent of the adult population.