Bedridden persons to get COVID-19 vaccine at home – Dr Anthony

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony

As Government continues to aggressively roll out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony revealed that arrangements can be put in place for persons who are bedridden for whatever reason to also get immunised against the virus.
During his most recent daily update on the COVID-19 situation in Guyana, Minister Anthony said that relatives and/or caretakers of such persons, who could not get to the vaccination sites, could contract the Regional Health Officers (RHOs) in their respective regions to arrange for the vaccine to be administered.
“We will certainly be able to work out a way of taking the vaccines to them. We have been able to do those who have already been identified to us, but I’m sure there are many more other persons [who are bedridden] and from the side of the Ministry, we’re always willing to help in this regard,” Dr Anthony said in his update on Wednesday.
Further, he went on to disclose that Guyana has reached a milestone in its vaccination exercise with more than 100,000 persons having received their first COVID-19 shot. This achievement was recorded on Tuesday – some 10 days before the projected April 30 deadline by which the Ministry was hoping to attain this milestone.
According to the Health Minister, this could not have been done without the hard work of the vaccination teams across the country.
“We have exceeded 100,000 doses… This is across Guyana. We have had people coming out and our people going into villages. So, I think the health workers who have been on this vaccination campaign have done a remarkable job for us to achieve this milestone. I want to commend them for the job they’ve done so far,” he posited.
The Health Minister noted that while this significant milestone has been achieved, there was still a long way to go to ensure that all adult persons in Guyana, including foreign nationals living and working here, were vaccinated in order to attain herd immunity.
“Whoever is in Guyana, once you are an adult, that you’ll get a vaccine. So that’s what we’re working on because herd immunity cannot be achieved by excluding people… So, migrants who’re here would certainly get vaccines. Other nationals who are here working in different establishments, once they are here for a protracted period, we’ll also be able to give them vaccines,” Dr Anthony stressed.
Guyana rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination campaign in February and in addition to the more-than-100,000 persons who received their first dose, several hundred persons have also received their second doses.
Last Friday, Government extended the vaccination exercise to persons 18 years and older. Since then, scores of young persons have been flocking vaccination sites across the country to get immunised.
Thus far, Guyana has received 3000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from Barbados, another 80,000 doses of the same jab from India and 20,000 doses of Sinopharm from China – all donations.
The country subsequently collected its first tranche of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility – 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca and another batch is expected to arrive next month.
Further, Government has purchased 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia to the tune of some US$4 million, through the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Guyana has already received some 138,000 doses of the Russia-made jab with the most recent batch of 83,000 doses arriving on Monday.
With these vaccines, the Guyana Government is hoping to fully vaccinate some 300,000 people with both doses by the end of July. The country is expected to source additional COVID-19 jabs to achieve this.
To this end, Dr Anthony has reiterated calls for persons to get vaccinated.
“I want to appeal to everyone to get their vaccines because while it does not prevent the infection, it would reduce the severity of the disease which is important, so you would not end up in the hospital, you would not end up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and you would not die from COVID. So that’s a very important thing. So, get your vaccine and we can help to reduce the hospitalisation and deaths that we have been having from this disease,” the Health Minister implored.
Dr Anthony explained during Wednesday’s update that as of now, Guyana has secured enough shots for its vaccination programme. However, he noted that the country continued to maintain relationships with other countries and manufacturers of COVID-19 jabs so if the need arose for more vaccines, then those sources could be tapped.
One such source is India, the Health Minister said.
Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa had told Guyana Times last month that Guyana was in talks with his country to acquire COVAXIN – an indigenous jab. He had noted while Guyana’s total need is 400,000 doses, the manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, is only processing orders for 100,000. (G8)