Health Minister concerned over low vaccination rate in Region One

─ encourages adults to inoculate themselves against Covid  

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony has expressed concern about the low rate of COVID-19 vaccination in the Barima-Waini Region, even as the Government widens its campaign to ensure Guyana achieves herd immunity.  

During an interview with DPI following his visit to the vaccination site at the Mabaruma Regional Hospital today, Dr. Anthony said people are not capitalising on Government’s intervention to prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony

“We have not seen a lot of people coming to get their vaccines. The staff has been here for the whole day, and we’ve only had six persons who came forward to get their vaccines. So, that’s a little bit concerning.

We hope that we can persuade more persons to get their vaccines because in Region One we only have about 31 per cent of the adult population, who would have received their first dose.”

Minister Anthony said 83 per cent of the adult population in the Region must be immunised against COVID-19, in order for that Region to achieve herd immunity.

He said it is imperative that adults are vaccinated, noting that the Government has secured vaccines for the nation.  

“In many countries today because vaccines are scarce and, in many countries, today, they would like to be in the position that we’re in where we have vaccines for every adult person.

Countries in the Caribbean, they would like to have vaccines, but they don’t have access to vaccines. So, we’re very fortunate and, in fact, now there are many people who want to come to Guyana so that they can get their vaccines.”

The Health Minister said persons should not be afraid to be inoculated against COVID-19, since vaccines have always been used in Guyana. He said vaccines save lives.

The Government on Monday received another consignment of 38,400 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility, taking the total number of vaccines received to date to 303,000. The first shipment of 24,000 vaccines from COVAX arrived on March 29.

Additionally, a batch of 60,000 Sputnik V vaccines is also expected in Guyana this week as part of the 200,000 doses bought from Russia.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign mid-February, the Sinopharm, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines have been administered in Guyana.  

Dr. Anthony is encouraging persons to take their COVID-19 vaccines, to protect them from contracting a severe form of the disease, which could lead to death.

The Health Ministry is seeking to vaccinate at least 500,000 adults to achieve herd immunity and significantly decrease the spread of the disease.