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President
12 August 2021, 11:47

 Lukashenko against mandatory vaccination in Belarus

 VITEBSK DISTRICT, 12 August (BelTA) – Vaccination against COVID-19 will remain voluntary in Belarus, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he hosted a meeting to discuss development of antiviral vaccines in Vitebsk District on 12 August, BelTA has learned.

"There will be no mandatory vaccination in Belarus. I am strongly against it. Vaccination will remain voluntary. If a person wants to be vaccinated it is good, if not, let it be," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president noted, there are certain categories of workers who should not be forced but encouraged. These are, for example, doctors or retail workers. "But no forcing anything on anyone," the Belarusian leader stressed.

“An Indian strain has been recorded in Belarus, like in many other countries all over the world. The minister and I discussed this issue when the news about the strain surfaced. We have worked out certain measures - from psychological help to medical treatment. We were ready for it. So far, our projections have proved true. No one knows how many more of these strains are ahead? Therefore, I have said many times that the main task is vaccination."

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that everyone should understand that vaccination does not provide complete protection, and the situation in the world shows this. "But the fact that the vaccine will weaken the disease, if you catch it, is an almost indisputable fact," the head of state said.

As for the vaccination itself, the president stressed that every person is responsible for their own health. But people should also understand that this is not only their health but also the health of others. This is social responsibility.

“But since we still do not know much, I would not want us to go into a frenzy as the world did when it all began. There will be no mandatory vaccination. I strongly advise against it: God forbid I learn that someone is forcing people to get vaccinated. You know that the reaction on my part will be swift and strong. Vaccination should remain voluntary! If a person wants to be vaccinated it is good, if not, let it be," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president noted, there are certain categories of workers who should be encouraged. “I think we do not need to encourage doctors. They work with people, are exposed. These are educated people. The share of the vaccinated among our doctors is more than 70%, the highest. There are still some categories of workers who are responsible for themselves, for their health and also for others: retail, pharmacy workers, some social services. But no one has the right to coerce anyone. We can encourage, convince them... Our people  are smart. No coercion!" the president once again emphasized.

“We do not make our people get vaccinated like Lithuania (this policy has already backfired). More than a million people have already been fully vaccinated in Belarus. We have also got a relatively good herd immunity as a lot of people have had COVID-19 and recovered. Some two million people have received one shot of the vaccine. It is hard to say whether that is a lot or not. So far, I cannot compare it with anything else. Different scientific articles in reputable journals do not yet give grounds to say whether it is a lot or not,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
 
He stressed that the Chinese and Russian vaccines are available in the country. “The West has offered to supply us with a Western vaccine through Poland. If the Healthcare Ministry needs it, we can import it so that people have a choice,” said the president.

The head of state added that Belmedpreparaty produces at least 90,000 doses of Sputnik V weekly. 
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