Teachers’ Union says COVID-19 vaccines must remain voluntary

The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) said it will stand with Teachers “should there be any attempt to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for returning to the classroom.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the GTU said it will neither advise against nor enforce vaccination on its members as it has always supported free choice in taking any of the COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to do so.

“We believe that the vaccine must remain VOLUNTARY and not made MANDATORY, neither explicitly stated nor implicitly imposed. We urge all teachers and right-thinking Guyanese to resist any attempt by any individual, organization or body to subject you to a tyrannical decision, the decision is yours,” the GTU said, adding that Guyana must always be the land where rights and freedom are respected.

It was at the time responded to comments made by President Dr. Irfaan Ali who on Monday said students who are expected to return to school, cannot be exposed to unvaccinated teachers. The President’s comments came as many persons are still hesitant to become vaccinated.

The GTU said as a consequence of this being a new type of vaccine, the hesitancy expressed by many worldwide is understood. As such, the Union said teachers are no different since some have reservations due to personal illness(es) and/or fear.

It added that there needs to be awareness campaigns that match the zeal of the vaccination drives to assure teachers and all Guyanese during the pandemic.

The Government this month, imposed restrictions on unvaccinated persons from entering Government agencies without an appointment, bars and restaurants, casinos, sport betting shops and other places which were given the greenlight to recommence operations.

So far, Guyana has confirmed 549 COVID-19 related deaths. It is expected that the vaccines will guarantee persons are not hospitalized if they contract the virus.