Barbados shares 3000 COVID-19 vaccines with Guyana

…frontline health workers to get vaccinated today

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony receiving the first batch of vaccines on Wednesday

The Barbados Government has released 3000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Guyana; it arrived in the country on Wednesday.
This was confirmed by President Irfaan Ali, who communicated that 1500 people will be immunised, since two doses are required. The first 200 doses will go to the Caricom Secretariat, while the remaining 2800 will be administered exclusively to frontline workers.
“I wish to thank Prime Minister Mia Mottley, and by extension the people of Barbados, for sharing with us from their first batch of vaccines. This act of kindness is among many in recent months that Guyana and Barbados have shared,” the Head of State included in his statement.
He outlined that in the coming weeks, Guyana will be in receipt of several tranches of vaccine. The aim, Ali assured, is to ensure that every Guyanese is vaccinated by the end of the year.
Local media reports in Barbados have stated that the country was in receipt of 100,000 doses of vaccine from the India Government. The AstraZeneca vaccines would be used to immunise the Barbados population, which accounts for just over 278,000 people.
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony was present at the Eugene F Correia International Airport when the doses arrived. This tranche contains the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been given emergency use authorisation from the World Health Organisation.
“The vaccine is the AstraZeneca vaccine, and it’s from the Serum Institute in India. It’s for 1500 people, because you have to give two doses per person… The expert committee on vaccines met yesterday (Tuesday) and they have greenlighted the AstraZeneca vaccine, so WHO is going to put it as one of the vaccines under the emergency use listing,” the Minister detailed.
A vaccine drive will commence today, starting with workers from the Georgetown Public Hospital and the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
“We’ll start with those persons because they’re the ones that interact more often with patients… If they don’t want it, that’s fine, but we want to make sure they have an option to get it,” he added.
Guyana has established several streams to acquire vaccines, starting with the global vaccine mechanism COVAX, which is planning to deliver some 104,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Through the COVAX mechanism, Guyana will receive 20 per cent of the total vaccines needed to immunise the population at zero cost.
There is an existing agreement with the African Union by which 149,000 doses will be purchased to immunise the population. This arrangement was brokered through the Caribbean Community, paving the way for 1.5 million doses to be donated to the region.
Additionally, Indian High Commissioner Dr K.J Srinivasa announced earlier this week that an initial donation of 500,000 vaccines would be made to Caribbean countries, of which Guyana will receive a fraction of this allotment.
China has also pledged to donate 20,000 vaccines manufactured by Sinopharm.
The Health Ministry has since been preparing for the vaccination rollout. 35 health teams have been trained to administer the injection as part of the vaccine deployment plan. The expansion of storage facilities is near completion.
These arrangements will ensure that the vaccines are at the right temperature when administered. Once the vaccine is successfully administered to a person, that person would receive an immunisation card. Vaccinated persons would be kept under observation for a few minutes, to ensure that there are no adverse reactions.
Once the administration programme starts, health authorities would be able to deliver 70,000 vaccines per day across the country. Government has noted that there is no mandatory requirement to take the vaccine, but taking it is encouraged to reach herd immunity. (G12)