Statement from the Ministry of Health; Today, we received 25,000 additional doses of vaccines

At about noon today, Guyana received an additional 25,000 doses of vaccines. These will be used for providing 25,000 Guyanese with their first vaccine dose against COVID-19.

Today, we take the opportunity to wish all our Christian sisters and brothers a holy, safe and happy Good Friday 2021. We similarly wish every one of our sisters and brothers in Guyana and around the world a safe day. We also look forward to everyone having a happy, but safe Easter. Easter 2021 comes at a time when COVID-19 is still creating major havoc for normal celebration of our religious and cultural events. The Ministry of Health through the National Task Force for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 has issued strict guidelines for the observance and celebration of Easter. We regret that normal activities during Easter have to be curtailed. Circumstances at this time demand we observe Easter at home, with our immediate families. Because we are cognizant of the importance of our religious events, we have permitted gathering in churches on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday, but we urge that those gatherings should not exceed 40% capacity and that all public health measures are observed.

COVID-19 is still showing a strong presence in our country. In fact, like other countries in our Region and around the world, COVID-19 is showing another surge. Make no mistake, COVID-19 transmission is very active in Guyana right now. Every time one leaves home, you are at risk. Like in other countries, COVID-19 is also showing, during this new surge, that it spreads faster and it has become deadlier. Most worrisome, COVID-19 is now affecting younger people, and causing severe illnesses in persons, not only younger, but with no co-morbidities. COVID-19 is more dangerous now than at any time before.

It is in the interest and welfare of ourselves and our families to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and the Task Force. We reiterate the need to adhere strictly to the public health guidelines. If you need to leave your home, please wear a mask at all times when you are in a public place. This includes when you are traveling in public transportation. Avoid large crowds and gatherings. It is simply not safe. Stay your distance. Ensure regular washing and sanitization of hands.

On this Good Friday 2021, we received another 25,000 doses of vaccines. Guyana has now received a total of 152,000 doses of vaccines, as follows:

  • 3,000 doses from Barbados (from a donation made by India to Barbados)
  • 20,000 doses from China
  • 80,000 doses from India
  • 24,000 doses from COVAX
  • 25,000 doses procured from the UAE (via Russia)

Guyana has donated 5,000 doses of vaccines back to Barbados. Guyana remains eternally grateful to Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the Government and People of Barbados for their generous initial donation that permitted Guyana to begin a vaccine rollout in Guyana as early as February 2021. With our own donation now to Barbados, Guyana has a total of 147,000 doses of vaccines for the immediate rollout across Guyana.

With 147,000 doses, we expect to vaccinate 86,000 persons with first doses and 61,000 of these persons with both their first and second doses. This is a massive undertaking, but the rollout so far has demonstrated that Guyana can and will succeed in vaccinating all persons aged 18 and older.

Thus far, we have focused the vaccination program on the following groups:

  • Health workers
  • Persons 60 years and older
  • Persons 40 years to 59 years

So far, the COVID-19 vaccination rollout has administered 39,831 doses of vaccines. During next week, by the end of April 10, the accelerated MOH’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout will reach, at least, 40,000 persons, with the target being a total of 80,000 Guyanese having received their first doses of vaccines. This is an incredible achievement in an environment where developing countries have had little to no access to COVID-19 vaccines. More than 30 countries have had no access to even a single dose of vaccines as yet. Dozens of countries have only received enough vaccines for less than one percent of their population.

Over the next several days and in the coming weeks, Guyana will pursue access to an even larger amount of vaccines. The President and the Vice President have been aggressively pursuing COVID-19 vaccine procurement from all possible legitimate sources. As they have assured the nation, the Government is determined to ensure everyone is vaccinated in 2021.

The Minister of Health is leading the effort to ensure that as soon as Guyana is in receipt of vaccines, those vaccines are dispensed at the community level. The rollout will ramp up from Tuesday April 6. There will be almost 100 fixed-sites around the country. There will also be mobile teams in all ten regions. In addition to these sites, there are special sites. Among these are special sites organized through a collaboration between religious leaders. The CIOG has been a leading player in this initiative. Banks DIH has organized a site that will be activated this week. These efforts assist the MOH in mobilization and we encourage others to help mobilize our sisters and brothers in a similar way. 

The MOH is urging local government bodies, such as the NDCs, and religious leaders, such as Pastors, Pandits and Imams to encourage people in the communities to take their vaccines. We urge political leaders to take an active role in promoting COVID-19 vaccination. Further, we urge everyone to be responsible. For those persons promoting conspiracy theories, we ask them to desist. The vaccines do not have any computer chip to steal anyone’s identity. The vaccines are intended to save people, not to kill them. The vaccines will not turn anyone into any kind of animal.     We urge citizens who are 40 years and older to ensure they visit one of the sites that will operate from Tuesday, April 6. These sites are published on our website. Happy Easter everyone.