GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC)— President Irfaan Ali has sought to assure the nation that citizens will not be mandated to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ali, who made the statement on Saturday during an address to the nation, also announced that the country will receive its first donation pledge of 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines from China.

He added that while Guyana remains on the waiting list of several distributing countries and agencies, all vaccinations scheduled to enter the country have been fully approved by the World Health Organization/ Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO).

In addition to China, he said Guyana is also in talks with Indian and Russia on sourcing COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the President, Guyana remains a part of the global competition to access vaccines and the objective is to get a vaccine for Guyanese as soon as possible so as to ensure that several individuals will have access before the end of the year.

“The population will get to decide if they want the vaccine or not. It is not mandatory, but I encourage everyone to take it. No resources will be spared and no stone will be left unturned…we are aggressively pursuing every avenue through which we can expeditiously get vaccines and make them available,” Ali said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, maintains that Guyana’s main focus for procuring COVID-19 vaccines is through the COVAX facility.

COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April by the WHO, the European Commission and France in response to the pandemic. It strives to ensure that people in all corners of the world get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available, regardless of their wealth.

The Guyana Government is looking to close a gap in the country’s vaccination law that addresses adult vaccination ahead of the countrywide rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Guyana only has laws that address vaccination for children, no law was ever put in place for the vaccination of adults.

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