President Dr Irfaan Ali announced on Saturday that Guyana will receive 3800 COVID-19 vaccines by next month through the COVAX facility – the global procurement mechanism created to increase accessibility.
During a briefing for the nation, the Head of State stated that the first batch will be administered to frontline medical personnel, people with comorbidities and the elderly. Through the COVAX mechanism, Guyana will receive 20 percent of the total vaccines needed to immunize the population at zero cost.
“Last year, Guyana joined COVAX and is now eligible for vaccines for 20 per cent of our population, which will be free of cost. We expect to receive around 3800 vaccines in February and March which will be immediately assigned to our frontline health workers, people with comorbidities, and our elderly, ”informed Ali.
While this mechanism is in place, Guyana is also in talks with the Caribbean Community, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union for the remaining vaccines. China, India and Russia have also engaged. So far, China has already pledged to send 20,000 vaccines once available.
Guyanese was reminded that authorities are being guided by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization in its efforts to keep the population safe. To achieve this goal, the Government is working with multilateral and bilateral partners in direct dialogue with major vaccine manufacturers.
The President added, “Discussions are ongoing and arrangements to procure vaccines from these countries will be finalized very soon. We are also in discussion with the major manufacturers: Pfizer, Biotech, Moderna and AstraZeneca and hope to complete the supply of vaccines from these manufacturers soon. Your Government is fully committed to getting vaccines in the shortest possible time, using every means available to our people. “
He stressed that vaccines will give Guyana a “handle” of the situation but that is not the end of the problem.
On the preparatory aspect of the introduction of the vaccination program, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said that the Government was ready and that a total of 35 health teams had been trained to administer the vaccines as part of the vaccine placement scheme. Expansion of the storage facilities will be completed very soon, he said.
Speaking during the briefing, Dr Anthony outlined, “We are ready and ready so once we start receiving the vaccines, we will be able to use them as quickly as possible and in the safest way … We have started ensure that sites are in every. region is being prepared and expanded so that we can store more vaccines and be able to present it to the public. Fourteen sites are now being expanded We hope to complete that by next week or the following week. We have also acquired freezers ranging from -70 to the regular freezers. “
These arrangements will ensure that the vaccines are at the correct temperature when given. Once the vaccine is successfully delivered to a patient, they will receive an immunization card. These people will be observed for a few minutes to ensure that there are no “adverse reactions”.
“We have estimated with these 35 teams that we have the capability to make at least 7000 vaccines every day when we start the rollout. We have currently carried out a risk analysis to determine how people can respond to vaccines. It’s called a hesitation survey and we have the results of that. Based on that, we have developed a risk communication plan that we will be able to introduce shortly before we introduce vaccines, ”the subject Minister noted.
It was revealed that the Government has not made the administration of coronavirus vaccines compulsory. However, citizens are encouraged to take the vaccine to gain herd immunity.
The Government on Friday extended the National Measures COVID-19, where the curfew will remain the same throughout February, that is from 22:30 pm (10:30 pm) to 04:00h (4 am). For this, Prime Minister Mark Phillips urged persons to ensure that they do not breach the guidelines and abide by the curfew.
He said they had allowed businesses to open in part in a bid to achieve economic balance in the country and keep income alive. He regarded villages that had been breaking the guidelines as “problematic”.
“Our view in the Task Force is that if we as a people adhere to the measures and conduct our economic activities in accordance with the protocols outlined, that will help us to contain or reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout Guyana. We have communities that are sticking to the measures and we have seen the consequences of low COVID-19 transmissions in the communities, ”said the retired Brigadier.
The President has indicated that controlling the enforcement of the measures is not an easy task but will be intensified as the days progress.