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The APNU+AFC Coalition maintains the position that vaccination of the population against the COVID-19 virus is necessary, but that it should ignore citizens’ human rights.
“We support vaccination and will continue to encourage all who can, to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves but their loved ones,” the coalition said in a statement Wednesday.
“We must however highlight that the current conundrum in which we find ourselves is a direct result of the abysmal failure of the installed PPP regime to properly manage the pandemic and competently respond to the vaccine hesitancy that exists.”
The APNU+AFC Coalition said it notes the COVID-19 emergency measures that came into effect on August 1st, 2021 and are appalled but not surprised by the means chosen by the PPP regime and some sections of the private sector to address vaccine hesitancy here in Guyana. “No one should be surprised by these steps given that the PPP has increasingly adopted and encouraged authoritarian methods of governance over the last year. However, we also note the pushback from all sections of the society to these draconian measures.”
The coalition said a responsible, democratic approach to vaccine hesitancy must take the rule of law into account. “Consultation with representatives of the people and key stakeholders is paramount, as it is only through a collaborative approach, that a useful strategy can be developed to tackle this pervasive resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, evident across ALL regions of the country.”
The APNU+AFC Coalition said it is also cognizant that there are International Conventions as well as local laws which govern a person’s rights in relation to medical interventions. These have been clearly adumbrated by the Guyana Public Service Union in its press release on July 31, 2021 entitled ‘It is illegal for any Guyanese, including employees to be vaccinated under duress!’
The Medical Practitioners Act No. 16 of 1991 as well as the Patient Charter 2008 of the Ministry of Health, safeguard a person’s right to privacy and confidentiality as well as their right to consent and their right to refuse treatment and medical intervention. “The approach to reducing vaccine hesitancy cannot be to ignore the fact that citizen’s have legal rights.
The APNU+AFC Coalition continues to encourage persons to take the vaccines as they become available. We however call on the PPP regime to desist from their dictatorial approach in handling this pandemic and to instead adopt a consultative and collaborative approach which respects the fundamental rights of our citizens.”