–adequate second doses available, says Health Minister
WITH there being concerns about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines for the administration of second doses, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has sought to assure persons that there is an adequate supply of vaccines to continue the inoculation process.
Concerns were raised particularly because there are vaccines from three distinctively different manufacturers being administered locally.
In responding to those concerns during Tuesday’s edition of the COVID-19 update, Dr. Anthony guaranteed that there is an adequate supply of vaccines to ensure that persons receive the second dose of whichever type of vaccine they received initially.
“In terms of the doses, for your second dose shot I think there have been persons who are worried that they might not have their second does shot, but I want to assure them that we have set aside the vaccines to give them their second dose,” he said.
To date, Guyana has obtained collectively 265,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca, the Chinese Sinopharm and Russian Sputnik V vaccines, which have been made available countrywide through the national vaccination campaign.
Dr. Anthony explained that for the Oxford AstraZeneca and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines, the Ministry of Health has set aside half of the total shipments to ensure that persons who got their first dose of those vaccines, receive the same vaccines for their second dose.
He explained that for the Sputnik V vaccine, there are two different types that will be administered on each occasion. So, the vaccine administered as the first dose is different from that of the second dose, however, the second doses are already in the country and are ready to be administered.
“So, there should be not worry pertaining to where you are getting your second dose from, we already have it here, we have it in storage at the vaccine bond and so at the appropriate time we’ll roll that out and make sure that everybody can get their second dose, those persons who would have already taken their first dose,” he said.
Dr. Anthony assured persons that consequent to Guyana receiving vaccines through the COVAX facility and the Government of Guyana purchasing a large number of vaccines as well, there is enough for every adult person in Guyana.
“So, I don’t think there’s a challenge getting vaccines, what we need to do is make sure that we get vaccines in people arms, that’s where the challenge is,” he said.
In addition, one of the major challenges the Ministry of Health faces in the administration of vaccinations are the myths being peddled in society pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine. “We are working hard to try to dispel some of those myths, we have several programmes that we are running from the ministry’s level which include one programme where we are trying to do myth busting and that is once we hear whatever the myth is we try to offer an explanation,” Dr. Anthony said.
He noted too that social media plays a major role in allowing myths to be disseminated, as this is where persons share content which is grossly false and misleading; this deters others from taking the jab.
It is for this reason that the Health Minister is urging persons to do their own research when they stumble upon vaccination myths.
“We want people to really review, not just to blindly share things but to review it if somebody sends it to you, see whether this is making sense and if it is fine… you can ask questions and whatever but if it’s not, don’t share it and don’t add to the confusion.
“If we all take that contentious approach, I think that we would make a difference so each one of us can help with fighting vaccine hesitancy because if we don’t, it’s going to be harder to reach that goal of herd immunity,” he said.
As of Monday, 145,797 first doses, a representation of 29.9 per cent of the population of persons over age 18, and 5,309 second doses were administered.