…RHO says vaccination rate low, residents continue to disregard measures

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…warns of overwhelmed Wismar Hospital

By Lisa Hamilton

to all other regions, Region Ten has the lowest vaccination rate and therefore the highest vaccination hesitancy in the country.

Health Officer (RHO) of Region Ten, Dr. Gregory Harris said that this does not bode well for the residents of the region, many of which are still disregarding COVID-19 guidelines by hosting secret parties and failing to sanitise or wash hands before entering


an interview with the Village Voice News, Dr. Harris presented the most recent figures he had on the Region’s vaccination rate which stands at 28 percent for those with the first dose and 13 percent for those fully vaccinated out of
a population target of approximately 27,000 adults. The figure stands at 6 percent for children who have taken the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“Region Ten is way behind. Overall the vaccine rate is very low, the hesitancy rate is still very high,” the RHO said. When
asked whether he had been able to gather why the Region was so far behind, he said that though he can’t say for sure, it is likely due to the beliefs held about the vaccines that are similar throughout the Region.

said that regional health authorities have been doing their best to encourage residents of the Region to be vaccinated, but many are just unwilling to budge. The
Region’s health authorities have ensured that myths about the vaccines are debunked and that vaccines are available at vaccination sites.

sensitisation messages have been shared via radio, television and social media and a house-to-house mobile vaccination team has visited riverine areas such as Ituni, Kwakwakni, Berbice River, Mabura Trail, Malali and others. Added to this, were health fairs
and collaboration with various private sector organisations to offer benefits for those who are vaccinated. “Various things
we have tried, but some persons, they just don’t want the vaccine,” the RHO said.

he noted that what is most appalling in the Region is that along with the existence of a high vaccination hesitancy rate, many are not adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines. He said persons are traversing the markets without face masks, several businesses have
no facilities for persons to wash or sanitise their hands prior to entry and persons are hosting secret parties.

the latter, he said that because the events are being kept a secret, it poses a difficulty for law enforcement to arrest the participating individuals. He has called on persons who may know of secret parties being held to inform the police as those involved
are only putting themselves and others at risk.

Dr. Harris said: “I think most
persons are taking a laid-back approach when it comes to COVID. They’re not
so serious as before in the beginning when everyone tried to follow these guidelines. Last year March/April,
at all businesses you had to sanitise and wash your hands before you enter
You had crowd control. All those measures we’ve fallen way behind.”

there are a number of businesses in Region Four that have implemented the Government’s COVID-19 Emergency Measures which speak to vaccination requirements or the presentation of a negative PCR test to enter public buildings, very few businesses have implemented
the same in Region Ten. If one is asked to present their vaccination card in the Region it is likely at a Government agency
or a banking institution.

it stands, Region Ten has recorded over 1,700 positive cases. The RHO said that the hospitalization rate in the Region is currently increasing which could see the overburdening of the Wismar Hospital which isolates COVID-19 patients in the Region and treats
their symptoms.

one time we used to have one and two cases per week, per month sometimes. Now, we have ten persons [in the hospital] of which 9 are on oxygen…once we continue on this trajectory, I can say that very soon we may be out of space at the Wismar Hospital — that
is our main isolation unit for positive and symptomatic cases.”

RHO has encouraged residents of the Region to take COVID-19 seriously once again, to get vaccinated and to follow the COVID-19 guidelines related to social distancing, sanitizing and the wearing of facemasks. He said that these simple safeguards, along with
vaccination, can be the difference between life and death

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