Guyana gets 52,800 more COVID-19 vaccines for children

Guyana has received another 52,800 Pfizer injections to further accelerate its efforts to inoculate all of the nation’s children between ages 5 to 11 years old against the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The donation, which is a collaboration between the United States (US) Government and the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), was handed over to Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, on Tuesday.

Guyana gets 52,800 more COVID-19 vaccines for children

Minister Anthony said the COVID-19 vaccination contribution is “timely,” since the country’s pediatric vaccines were exhausted since July month end, due to the demand for the jab.

He thanked the partners for their continued support of Guyana’s collective fight against the COVID-19 virus.

While government has placed significant emphasis on ensuring more children are protected against vaccines, it waited quite a long time to access the correct types of vaccines for the age 5 to 11 years cohort.

When the injections were finally procured, the administration immediately started its vaccination drive through several mechanisms that reached a large number of children across the country. 

Dr. Anthony pointed out that over 6000 children have already received their first doses to date.

“And we have seen children coming back to get their second doses. What is very interesting is that in some of the interior areas like in Region Nine, they have been really good outtake of these children’s vaccines… so we have seen a lot of children coming out to get the vaccine,” Minister Anthony noted.

He is also hopeful that other communities can adopt the serious attitude as Region Nine.

Minister Anthony encouraged parents to have their children within the age group inoculated.

Dr. Anthony contended that there is a lot of work to be done to ensure children across the coastal regions receive their vaccines as well.

“I think for a lot of people, they believe that COVID-19 is over and people are being very complacent, but you do have one of the more contagious strains of the omicron virus that is circulating, that is the B.A5. Even if you had a previous infection with omicron or one of the other variants, you can get reinfected with B.A5, so we are still not out of the woods,” he stressed, noting that vaccination is one of the ways persons can be protected.

Additionally, the minister noted that there is a decline in the number of adults being vaccinated, especially with the booster shot.

Although they have received the initial two doses, getting the booster injection every six months is also important in safeguarding their health. 

“We have made booster doses available throughout the country, so if we are going to reduce the amount of people getting sick, reduce the deaths, then all of us will have to play our role in terms of getting vaccinated,” Dr Anthony asserted.

US Deputy Chief of Mission, Adrienne Galanek, and PAHO representative, Dr Rainier Escalada were also present at the simple ceremony and provided remarks.

“We are so happy to have provided Guyana with 354,66o in total. It’s a wonderful partnership that we have with the Ministry of Health and we are so happy to be here providing these lifesaving vaccines,” Galanek remarked.

Additionally, PAHO’s Dr Escalada said it is an honour to collaborate in facilitating the arrival of the vaccines. “We remain committed to this endeavour and our hope is that the population of the country, not only the adults, but the children would optimise the use of these lifesaving vaccines.”