Guyana Considering COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

(CMC) — Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony says Government is still considering introducing a COVID-19 travel certificate, as the country continues to work towards curbing transmission of the deadly virus.

During his COVID-19 update on Friday, Dr Anthony said while countries around the world have implemented the system, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not taken a strong position on implementation due to vaccine hesitancy.

“Many countries still don’t have access to vaccines and if you make that compulsory and there aren’t enough vaccines, it can be problematic. For those countries who have vaccines, they’re starting to put measures in place such as this travel certificate,” he noted.

As more persons receive their COVID-19 vaccines, Minister Anthony said, the Government would have to consider the option moving forward.

“Some of these types of considerations you have to take on board, especially if countries to which the airlines here fly, would be asking for such travel documents. So, if that becomes a requirement, then we probably will have to follow suit, but the way things are going, it looks like a lot of countries are going to be implementing this vaccine passport or travel certificate, but there’s still that discussion that is ongoing.”

Meanwhile, Anthony noted that investigations were ongoing into the alleged forgery of a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. On Thursday, police arrested a woman who purportedly forged a vaccination card to travel overseas.

“We are going to take very stringent, serious actions against persons who try to forge these certificates because it’s a really serious matter,” the health minister said.

“If you’re not vaccinated, and you then tender some document to pretend that you have been vaccinated, you should face the full brunt of the law because you’re putting yourself at risk and you’re putting others at risk.”

He said the ministry will be “on the lookout” for any recurrence of such incidents as it could put the entire COVID-19 vaccination campaign into disrepute.

To date, 216,862 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 83,729 persons are fully immunised. Regions Six and One continue to lead the vaccination campaign with 52.4 per cent and 52.3 per cent respectively.

Regions Eight and Ten continue to record low numbers of vaccination at 28.4 per cent and 13.2 per cent respectively. The health minister said vaccine education campaigns are ongoing in those areas so residents can make informed decisions about vaccination.