WHILE significant progress has been made over the last few months in COVID-19 vaccination across Guyana which has led to a decline in cases nationally for some regions, Region 6 (East Berbice-Corentyne) has recorded a tripling of its COVID-19 cases from August to November this year because potentially because of low vaccination rates.
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony confirmed this during his daily COVID-19 update, where he lauded Regions 3 (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and 4 (Demerara-Mahaica) for their respective decline in COVID-19 cases and increase in vaccination.
With these two regions being among the most populated in Guayana, this could have resulted in an overall national decline in reported COVID-19 cases, Dr Anthony cautiously said.
For Region 6, however, the Health Minister flagged this as a region of concern, as he has done in the past. Regions 2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and 8 (Potaro-Siparuni) has also been named in the past.
The health minister highlighted the data over the last four months for Region 6 which showed 174 COVID-19 cases for August with an increase to 512 cases in November. He also expressed concern that persons have been contracting the more severe variations of the COVID-19 virus which has mutated many times since the first reported cases in early 2020.
Additionally, the region has seen 11 deaths in October and 12 deaths in November, the health minister noted. He expressed concern that not only are vaccinations low, but persons have been gathering in large numbers without face masks and the requisite social distancing in keeping with emergency protocols.
“A lot of people there are not taking their vaccines. So, now those who would have taken their second dose, you have boosters that are available,” Dr Anthony said as he plugged the need for persons to not only be vaccinated but also to secure booster shots six months after receiving the second dose vaccine as the ability of the vaccine to ward off the virus declines after six months.