President Ali expresses concern over int’l vaccine requirements for travel

─ in maiden address to UN General Assembly

In lieu of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements imposed by world leaders, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said persons should not be restricted based on what vaccines they have taken.

President Ali made the statement during his address to the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on Thursday.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, as he delivers his address to the United Nations General Assembly

“Our efforts must be focused on full vaccination and addressing vaccine hesitancy. Millions took the vaccines which were available at a time of much uncertainty, and they are the unsung heroes.  They must not now be the subject of restrictions based on the vaccines they took,” the Head of State articulated in his maiden address to the General Assembly.

The United States announced recently that international travellers must be fully vaccinated before they are allowed into the country. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- approved Jassen (Johnson & Johnson); Moderna; and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are currently being administered to persons in the US.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the United Kingdom (UK) include  Moderna; Oxford/AstraZeneca; Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson. These four vaccines are also approved for usage in Canada as well.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved seven COVID-19 vaccines, namely the Chinese-produced Sinopharm and Sinovac which have been approved for use in 64 and 40 countries respectively; the Indian-manufactured Covid Shield approved for usage in 45 countries; along with the Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford/ AstraZenaca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The Russian-manufactured Sputnik-V vaccine has been  at the foundation of Guyana’s efforts to achieve herd immunity. It has not been given approval by the WHO, but it is utilised by over 50 countries.

Russia is expected to export 250 million doses of the Sputnik V to India, which was among the major planned producers of the vaccine. In total, Indian companies plan to produce at least 1.152 million doses of Sputnik V per year. Furthermore, Mexico ordered a total of 24 million doses of the vaccine.

Russia applied for the vaccine approval in the European Union (EU) in January, while several EU countries approved its use earlier, such as Hungary and Slovakia.

Notably, more than 60% of Guyana’s adult population has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with over 35% being fully-inoculated against the deadly disease. Guyana recently began distributing vaccines for children, of which 29.6% have already received their first dose.

President Ali reminded the General Assembly that access to vaccines saw the world polarised, as he went on to say that the world must not diminish efforts at ending the polarisation of access to vaccines by implementing measures that divide and curtail movement based on the type of vaccines taken.