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Health Ministry urges sensitivity in vaccine proof plan

  • Calls for cards for those unable to get jab due to health concerns 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Health Ministry has said that if it is to be made mandatory for people to bring a vaccination card with them when visiting public places in order to confirm that they have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, those who are unable to obtain Covid-19 vaccines due to health reasons should also be given a card stating so.

When contacted by The Morning, Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG), and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said that there are people who are unable to get the Covid-19 vaccine due to certain health-related reasons, and that they should also be given a separate card stating the matter.

“There are those who have not received or obtained the vaccines. Then, there are those who are unable to get the vaccine due to health-related reasons. A card should also be issued to them. If not, such individuals will not be able to go out,” he elaborated.

National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Head and Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva, speaking to the media on 13 August 2021, said that people entering public places from 15 September onwards would be required to produce their Covid-19 vaccination cards.

He added that if it is made mandatory to keep a vaccination card in this manner, a formal arrangement should be made for its implementation.

“This should be considered a sensitive matter. For example, the vaccination card that is currently being given to those who get the Covid-19 vaccines cannot be kept in the pocket. Therefore, a formal arrangement should be made in this regard.”

Meanwhile, speaking in the Parliament yesterday (7), Our Power of People Party (OPPP) Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera stated that it should not be made mandatory for people to obtain Covid-19 vaccines. He also said that those who had not been vaccinated should be allowed to act in accordance with the health guidelines. “Our opinion with regard to making it mandatory for people to obtain the vaccines is that it should not be so. If only 1% dies and indigenous doctors claim that they can cure this, we cannot make it mandatory to receive the vaccines. Instead, we can limit such individuals visiting public places and they should in turn be allowed to act in accordance with the health guidelines,” he added.

A fundamental rights petition has also been filed in the Supreme Court by the Sinhala Ravaya Party against mandatory vaccination.