GUYANA has reached a milestone in its COVID–19 vaccination efforts. This is according to Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, who related that as of Tuesday, in excess of 100,000 persons all across Guyana have received the first jab of the vaccine.
“We have had people coming out, our teams going into villages, so I think the health workers who have been on this vaccination campaign have done a remarkable job for us to achieve this milestone,” Dr. Anthony said during his Wednesday coronavirus update with the Department of Public Information.
As Guyana continues to push for herd immunity, the country is recording approximately 6,000 vaccinations daily. To further raise this figure, Minister Anthony said that efforts are being made to cater to those who are immobile and unable to visit vaccination sites.
“We know there’re a number of persons who are at home; they are bedridden and if the persons who are caring for them can contact the regional health officers in the various regions, then we will certainly be able to work out a way of taking the vaccines to them,” Dr. Anthony said.
He added, “We have been able to do those that have been identified to us, but I’m sure there are many more, other persons, and from the side of the ministry, we are always willing to help.”
Minister Anthony also emphasised that the vaccines are not restricted to Guyanese; but persons of all nationalities who are living and/or working within Guyana’s borders.
“Our policy now with vaccination right now, is to ensure that whoever is in Guyana and once you are an adult that you get the vaccine. So, that is what we are working on,” Dr. Anthony posited.
He noted too, that herd immunity cannot be achieved by excluding people. “Migrants who are here would certainly get vaccines, other nationals who are here working in different establishments, once they’re here for a protracted period, we would also be able to give them vaccines,” Dr. Anthony clarified.
He pointed to the fact that presently, the majority of the adult population is capable of visiting the vaccination sites for their first doses of the vaccines. “They’re young, they’re mobile; they’re going to go to different parts and so forth and that is why we want to make sure that everyone is immunised,” Dr. Anthony noted.
He further emphasised that Guyana still has a long way to go to ensure every adult is immunised, using Wednesday’s update to deliver a usual dose of encouragement for persons 18 years and older to visit the various vaccination sites for their first jabs of the vaccine. He stressed that while the vaccines do not prevent infections, it has been proven to drastically reduce the severity of virus, once contracted. “…which is more important, so that you would not end up in the hospital; you would not end up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), and you will not die from COVID,” Dr. Anthony underscored. Responding to questions relating to the procurement of vaccines from India, the Health Minister pointed to the fact that the Asian nation is currently battling a notable spike in COVID-19 cases and related deaths.
“It is challenging for India to export vaccines to other countries, at this point in time,” Dr. Anthony said. He assured however, that Guyana has secured enough vaccines for its programmes.
Additionally, the minister said that “We continue to maintain relationships with other countries to make sure that if there’s a need for more, that we can tap into those resources.”
To date, it has obtained 265,000 vaccines, which have been made available countrywide in the national vaccination campaign.