Gov’t to roll out COVAX vaccines this week

− Min Anthony

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony says the Government would this week start administering the 24,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, which it received through the COVAX mechanism on Monday.

He made this disclosure during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.  Minister Anthony said he expects the roll-out to be a smooth process, as the Government expands its immunisation programme to include persons ages 40 years and older.

“Of course, we have been using the AstraZeneca vaccine here, so they are well prepared to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine. And so, we see the roll-out of this to be quite seamless.

So, the 24,000 doses, we’ll be able to fully immunise 12,000 people. We will start administering these doses during this week and then we will wait between eight to 12 weeks when we will get this second shot,” he said.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony

Dr. Anthony also said the Government appreciates the hard work of organisations such as PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and all the other United Nations partners, that ensured that smaller nations like Guyana could access COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are very excited. We are very pleased that the process has started. This was the first set of doses that we are receiving from the COVAX mechanism, and we have been told that over the next couple of months that the other doses would be coming in as more doses become available to the COVAX mechanism.

We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to access the first tranche of the vaccines from COVAX,” he said.

COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, known as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access globally to COVID-19 vaccines. It comprises UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and others. 

COVID-19 vaccines

Meanwhile, Minister Anthony said frontline healthcare workers who were inoculated in February, when Guyana received a gift of 3,000 doses of vaccines from the Government of Barbados, will soon be given their second doses.

Additionally, later this week, the Government would also be receiving its first batch of vaccines ordered from Russia. The Sputnik V vaccine is said to be about 92 per cent efficacious against the disease.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had announced that Government would be purchasing some $800 million (US$4 million) worth of the vaccines.