GTUC position on the Sputnik V vaccine 

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The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) calls on the Government of Guyana to immediately cease and desist further distribution and administration of the Sputnik V coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to the population in Guyana until such vaccine satisfies all requirements and is approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  The WHO is the international organisation that approves the safe use of the vaccines.

Fake Sputnik V vaccine is also reported in circulation and was discovered in Mexico and Kenya, Africa. The Russian Direct Investment (Sovereign Wealth) Fund, which is responsible for the international marketing of the vaccine, did acknowledge the Mexican counterfeit, releasing a photograph of the seized batch, while the Government of Kenya had moved to stop the importation by private investors.

Altogether, this makes the Sputnik vaccine a safety concern unless there is the WHO’s approval and unless the present given supply (batch number, etc.) could be validated and authenticated.

GTUC sees this as a very dangerous precedent in Guyana, where the nation’s health and well-being are placed at high risk by operatives of the government who thus far have failed to provide evidence that due diligence was done to ensure the Guyanese population can be safe. It is therefore important all people in Guyana unite to demand accountability for the acquisition, distribution, and administration of the vaccine.

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Validation of the vaccine is important not to undermine public trust and confidence in the management of COVID-19 and government ability to protect its citizens. Readers should note that it is not unusual to put the coronavirus vaccines on pause until concerns are addressed. It was done by the United States government for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Guyana Government must do no less for the Sputnik vaccine.

No accusation of creating vaccine hesitancy can in anywhere supersedes concern of safety. The highhanded position of the government of not withdrawing or stopping administration of the vaccine is callous and unbelievable. How dare they attempt to make light of this very important matter? Their action suggests the government is more concerned with proving a point and proving that they can do what they want, when they want, and how they want, and there is no accountability or no one can stop them, not even the political Opposition. They seem not to care about addressing the justifiable fear and uncertainty that people feel.

The fear of the pandemic, the vaccines, and everything surrounding the virus is global, not unique to Guyana. What is unique to Guyana is the callous nature of the government’s response to fears and concerns. The Sputnik vaccine should be put on hold until approved by WHO and queries surrounding acquisition resolved. The vaccine may well turn out as another vaccine approved by the WHO, but until such time any other course of action is a potential risk that the government is putting the people through. This would be a sad development in a list of others that raises concerns about the safety and wellbeing of Guyana population in this current era.



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