The Ministry of Health has applied for a grant from COVAX – the agency where Guyana will receive its COVID-19 vaccines – to get a specialist to provide technical support to administer these vaccines.
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony says a favorable response from COVAX is expected.
“We expect a favorable response from them because this is a completely new technology for us,” said Dr Anthony.
In the coming new year, intensive training for vaccine delivery will begin. This will include how to register people for the vaccine, education on possible side effects, obtaining consent and administering the vaccine itself.
“We will have to follow up depending on which vaccine we use, either people may have to come back after three weeks or 28 days for a second dose,” said the Minister .
The team of medical professionals who will handle the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in Guyana will be identified this week, the Health Minister recently revealed.
According to the Minister, a number of people have already been approved and the list is now being finalized. Professionals with expertise in vaccine storage, logistics and management are targeted to be on the team.
The government has also announced tenders for the procurement of cold storage trucks with the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine. Once the vaccine is transmitted to Guyana, frontline health workers will be given first followed by people with primary health conditions and the elderly.
Meanwhile, GeneXpert machines are now being used to conduct COVID-19 testing. Guyana has five machines that were previously used to test people for tuberculosis, but the machines have now been re-calibrated to test for COVID-19. The Health Minister explained that specialist cartridges were also being procured for the machines to be used for this purpose.
“So those five machines have now been re-calibrated and we are able to use COVID-19 specialist cartridges to test for COVID-19 and we have trained our staff and used some of these machines to regional hospitals, ”the Health Minister explained.
The Minister revealed that five more machines were also being procured and should arrive soon.
In addition, the government recently implemented rapid antigen testing, which is done within 20-30 minutes but a more accurate test, the PCR test is conducted with the results available within 24 hours.