Govt secures purchase of 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines – Dr Anthony

…Sputnik 2nd doses to arrive by next week; 100,000 1st doses delivered Monday

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony on Tuesday announced that Government has secured 100,000 doses of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm vaccines, which are expected to arrive in the country in the near future.
Sinopharm vaccines, which have an efficacy of about 79 per cent, have already been used in Guyana’s vaccination campaign after 20,000 doses were donated by the Chinese Government earlier this year. The Minister said US$15 is being paid for each dose, with an additional cost attached to each jab to cover transportation.
“We have purchased 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. That approximates to about US$15 per dose and we have to add another US$2-3 from the transportation of the vaccine. You normally factor that in as transportation for the vaccine. That would be the cost of what we’re paying for those vaccines,” he communicated during the COVID-19 briefing.
Just Monday, 100,000 first doses of the Sputnik V vaccines arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport – the fifth batch that has so far accumulated to 305,537 jabs from a State purchase. Dr Anthony explained that the delay for second doses will end by next week, as another consignment is on track for arrival.
“In terms of the Sputnik V second dose, we continue to work with the supplier to see how fast we can get those second doses in. We have already paid for these second doses. It is just a matter of getting the supply in Guyana. Hopefully, we’ll get that by the end of this week or early next week. But again, I just want to remind people that for second dose Sputnik, again it’s between four weeks to 12 weeks…The longer you delay in getting that second dose, the more robust or longer the immunity would last.”
Government had first purchased 200,000 doses and then secured another 600,000 for Guyana. The shots continue to arrive in tranches, enabling immunisation for 400,000 persons. Unlike other vaccines, Sputnik V immunisation uses two slightly different versions for the first and second dose. Produced by the Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the efficacy has been proven to be about 92 per cent.
COVAX is also close to delivering on its promise of 100,800 doses; adding to donations of 80,000 AstraZeneca from India, 20,000 Sinopharm from China and 3000 AstraZeneca from Barbados.
As of June 7, 212,541 persons received their first dose of the vaccine while 77,980 are completely immunised. This is about 15.6 per cent of the adult population.
With the slowest recorded uptake in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), Prime Minister Mark Phillips recently urged residents of Coomacka to take advantage of being vaccinated against COVID-19. He said Guyana is presently one of the few small countries in the world where the Government has decided to purchase vaccines to be given free of cost to its population. Scores of Venezuelans and other nationals are also getting immunised.
“The Venezuelans are taking the vaccine. We got about forty thousand Venezuelans living in Guyana. They’re coming forward and taking the vaccine. In Lethem, we have the Brazilians who are coming over to Guyana and taking the vaccine. We want the Guyanese to take the vaccine too, wherever you are…Because the more people take the vaccine is the better for us as a population to get past this COVID-19 disease,” the Prime Minister had said.
On Monday, Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also maintained, “In countries with the greatest access to vaccines, we are seeing a decline in mortality among older age groups. In these countries, the public health and social measures that have helped to protect people are being eased, but they must be eased cautiously, and adjusted in line with viral circulation and response capacities.” (G12)