Compulsory vaccination has seen an increase in the number of soldiers being vaccinated against the coronavirus says Chief of Staff Brigadier Godfrey Bess.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the commissioning of several officers at State House on Thursday, the Chief of Staff was asked why it is necessary for vaccination to be mandatory, “We got a responsibility to ensure that our soldiers are fit to defend this country at all cost,” Bess told the media, “you know there is a saying in GDF and our soldiers know that, that once you join the Guyana Defence Force, it is service first, our bodies belong to the state of Guyana.”
Brigadier Bess said too that the GDF has recorded some 70% vaccination rate among soldiers, “there are some units that have 100%,” he pointed out, “it has been increasing and astronomically after that (the mandatory vaccine order).”
The Chief of Staff said that the GDF will continue to “encourage” the unvaccinated soldiers to get their vaccines, “Like I have continued to say to those who have not been vaccinated, they will have to bring negative PCR tests.”
Those tests have to be done every 14 days. The Chief of Staff said that soldiers with severe medical issues are exempted but those soldiers have to provide “authorised documents” from the GDF’s medical officers.
Commander in Chief President Irfaan Ali supports the mandatory vaccine order for soldiers, “look this is a pandemic, this is not a joke and you have to get tough sometimes,” he told the media on Thursday.