Guyana Teachers Union against mandatory vaccination
GEORGETOWN – The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on Wednesday said it would resist any attempt by the authorities to make mandatory, the vaccination of teachers ahead of the new school term that begins in September.
“Teachers! We will stand with you should there be any attempt to make vaccination mandatory for returning to the classroom,” the GTU said in a statement.
Earlier this week, President Dr Irfaan Ali urged teachers also to show leadership and get vaccinated as the government prepares to reopen schools next month for face-to-face interaction.
“Because vaccines inoculate everyone against this dreaded deadly virus, all of us should be troubled by those who refuse to be vaccinated. The unvaccinated are now as deadly as the virus itself for they are not only susceptible to infection, they will carry it…the government has a responsibility to defend the health of all,” President Ali said.
In a nationwide radio and television address marking the first anniversary of the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, Ali said “we cannot expose children to unvaccinated teachers”.
While he did not explicitly say vaccination for teachers would be mandatory, he did announce that “teachers are responsible enough” to understand the need for vaccination.
But in its statement, the GTU said it has always supported the free choice in taking the vaccine and so will neither advise against nor enforce inoculation of teachers.
“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, organisation or body to subject you to a tyrannical decision, the decision is yours.”
The GTU is calling for awareness campaigns that match the zeal of the vaccination drives to assure its members and all of Guyana, adding that the COVID-19 vaccines are new and so the hesitancy expressed by many worldwide is understood.
“Our teachers are no different since some of our members have reservations due to personal illnesses and/or fear,” the GTU said.
Guyana recorded 22 523 positive cases and 541 deaths as a result of the pandemic. The first case was in March last year. (CMC)