‘The rights of people are a well-established legal limitation on an individual’s right to choose’ – GHRA

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The Guyana Human Right Association has finally made a statement concerning the mandatory vaccines for persons in Guyana. Citizens for the past two weeks have been calling on the association to give their views and recommendation on the new gazetted order for persons, primarily health care workers and public transportation operators to take the vaccines provided by the government.

In a statement by the GHRA, the body believes that there is a lack of trust in the vaccination program, adding that both the mini-bus sector, nurses and teachers’ opposition to vaccination is influenced by unresolved non-COVID 19 grievances, without it being explicitly acknowledged.

The body has noted that the Government is currently threatening strong-arm inconsistent tactics to enforce vaccination, which should be fully explained and applied impartially and fairly.

It was stated that the rights of other people, however, are a well-established legal limitation on an individual’s right to choose.

Additionally, the vaccine is seen as a political polarization of the country. “COVID 19 vaccination has now joined the growing catalogue of issues used to sustain the political polarization of the country with little regard for the deadly consequences. Leadership of the anti-vaxxers dogmatically defend their rank and file ‘right to choose’, while Government threatens strong-arm inconsistent tactics to enforce vaccination. Neither side is disposed to respect any validity in the opposing position, preferring ‘in principle arguments’ about ‘rights’ rather than practical solutions,” the statement read.

The GHRA has also brought COVID-19 Task Force under the microscope, stating that Force is largely missing in action while the official COVID 19 communications strategy is feeble. “The COVID Task Force must be seen to be above the politically-driven polarization and provide real leadership, which involves showing some empathy and common-sense for the non-vaxxer position rather than simply ignoring it.” The GHRA said both Government and Trade Unions should address the hesitancy of anti-vaxxers by prioritizing several things; including  

  • All approved vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and death from COVID-19.
  • The unvaccinated are the ones who are dying not the vaccinated.
  •  Rebut false and outdated information.
  •  Vaccine availability.
  • Reduce hesitancy in relation to less preferred vaccines.
  • A clearer understanding of what the right to choose means.

Further the association said that the rebuttal of wrong and outdated information about vaccine safety and effectiveness is crucial since anti-vaxxers still regurgitate the distortion and ridicule instilled by right-wing politicians from earlier days.

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