Tourism Minister says MPs have a right to priority vaccination

ECONOMYNEXT- Parliament members in the opposition are trying to spread the COVID-19 virus and create chaos in the country by deferring to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga said.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, he said that since it is the MPs and ministers who associate with the people most there is “nothing wrong with them getting vaccinated.”

He said if a cluster is created because of the MPs then the media will start blaming them for it.

Moreover, he said that everyone in the Colombo, Kalutara and Gampaha districts should be vaccinated as well the Parliament members.

Ranatunga said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants everybody in the country to be vaccinated, so it should be allowed to do so.

Some MPs from both the government and the Opposition have deferred getting the vaccine because they felt that the opportunity should be given to a more vulnerable person.

Opposition MPs Hesha Withanage, Chaminda Wijesiri, Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara and Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage are among those who have not been vaccinated.

Withanage said that he took the decision to refrain from taking the COVID-19 vaccine because people will be disgusted with politicians if they use their privileges to get themselves and their family members vaccinated.

MP Wijesiri refrained from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as it is suitable to give prominence to the groups which are suffering because of the pandemic.

He said that some private sector companies have requested from the government to allow them to import the COVID-19 vaccine in order to vaccinate their employees and their family members, which the government has not allowed.

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Harin Fernando via Twitter said that he will not receive the vaccine until a million people from among the public have been vaccinated.

Minister Aluthgamage said he had taken a personal decision to refrain from receiving the vaccine, in order to provide an opportunity for an individual from the vulnerable groups identified from among the public to be vaccinated.

He also said despite politicians interacting more with the public, it was only fair to grant that opportunity to someone from the public. (Colombo/Feb19/2021)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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