Distribution of Sinopharm vaccines begin this weekend
One of the boxes which contains the vaccines being transported from the Caribbean Airlines aircraft to a cold-storage truck on Tuesday evening (Adrian Narine photo)
One of the boxes which contains the vaccines being transported from the Caribbean Airlines aircraft to a cold-storage truck on Tuesday evening (Adrian Narine photo)

ADDITIONAL frontline healthcare workers will be protected from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 as the Sinopharm vaccines, which were donated to Guyana from China, will be distributed from this weekend, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony said.

On Tuesday evening, 20,000 vaccine doses arrived on a Caribbean Airlines flight at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). According to a report from the BBC, Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, announced on December 30, 2020, that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79 per cent effective, lower than that of Pfizer and Moderna.

However, the United Arab Emirates, which approved a Sinopharm vaccine early December, said the vaccine was 86 per cent effective, according to interim results of its phase three trial.

The Guyana Chronicle understands that this vaccine is pending emergency health authorisation before the World Health Organisation (WHO), but, the local regulatory authorities have deemed these vaccines safe for use.

“Over the weekend we are going to start using this particular vaccine to roll it out to people,” Minister Anthony said on Friday, reminding that these vaccines will be given to frontline healthcare workers first.

Since the Sinopharm vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, the donation caters for the immunisation of 10,000 persons. Already, Guyana has begun immunising its frontline healthcare workers, following the donation of 3,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Barbados.

As part of the vaccination rollout, vaccine cards were issued to all those who received vaccines, indicating that persons have taken their first dose stating by which time they have to return to the medical facility for their second dose. This second dose will be distributed some eight to 12 weeks after the initial jab.

Healthcare workers were also trained on the administration of these vaccines. In light of the donation of the Sinopharm vaccine, Minister Anthony noted that healthcare workers who will be distributing the vaccines have again been trained for this specific vaccine.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we went back and we trained our healthcare workers how to administer this particular vaccine and we had to develop some information booklets that when someone comes to get the vaccine, they are also receiving the information booklet that explains to them the vaccines, how it works, what are the possible side-effects, who can get it, who cannot get it and things like that,” the minister noted.

Widespread vaccination is the “exit strategy” for the pandemic; this means that only when about 80 per cent of the population is immunised through vaccination or through recovering after contracting the virus, would there be some sort of ‘normalcy’.


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