–Health Minister says
WITH the Delta variant of COVID-19 threatening the health systems of several first world countries, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, is urging citizens to be responsible and take the government-provided COVID-19 vaccines to protect themselves and their families from the adverse effects of the disease.
According to research, the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV 2) is deadlier than the original COVID-19 virus, almost 100 per cent more transmissible, and has been recorded more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus in younger persons.
Additionally, it was reported that the Delta variant affects children more than the original COVID-19 strain.
In response to the general scourge, the government has been rolling out an aggressive COVID-19 vaccination programme, which sees anyone above the age of 18 having the opportunity to receive a vaccine to guard against the deadly effects of the virus.
Currently, the government is offering first and second doses of the Russian-produced Sputnik V vaccine; the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Minister Anthony, in an invited comment on Wednesday, said that while the ministry can test for the COVID-19, it is not yet equipped to define the different variants of the virus.
For this reason, he urged Guyanese to take the necessary precautions to ensure that they minimise the effects of the disease. The Delta variant is being regarded as the most deadly and contagious strain of the virus since it was initially discovered in 2019. “Unless everybody takes their vaccine, we are not going to get to herd immunity and unfortunately when the delta variant gets here, it can easily overwhelm our health system.
Look at what is happening in the United States, look at how many cases of hospitalisation they have, and they have a lot more resources than we do and they are having challenges. So, imagine if that gets here and we have an unvaccinated population what are going to be the consequences,” the Health Minister reasoned.
Meanwhile, owing to the government’s intensified efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, some 254,883 Guyanese or 52 per cent of Guyana’s adult population have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of that number, about 142,114 or 29 per cent of the adult population have received both doses of the vaccine and are now fully vaccinated.
Minister Anthony said that while vaccination rates have been increasing, there is still a significant way to go before the country can achieve herd immunity, which would be reflected in the vaccination of 80 per cent-85 per cent of the country’s adult population.