Guyana is yet to receive 182,000 Sputnik V 2nd doses – Dr Anthony
Some 182,000 second doses of the Sputnik V vaccine are outstanding from Government’s purchase order, but Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has assured that the jabs will arrive within the necessary timeframe for persons to receive their second shots.
Dr Anthony made this disclosure during Wednesday’s update on the COVID-19 situation in Guyana as he responded to concerns raised on social media about the unavailability of the second dose of the Russian-made jab.
The Health Minister explained that Government had first ordered 400,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine – 200,000 first doses and 200,000 second doses. From that, Guyana has already received the 200,000 first doses as well as 61,000 of the second doses.
The country then placed a second order for 86,000 doses, comprising of 43,000 first doses and 43,000 second doses. However, while all of the first doses from this second order were received, none of the second doses were delivered.
As such, in total, the country is still awaiting the arrival of second doses from both purchase orders, amounting to a total of 182,000 doses.
On May 27, the Health Ministry had announced that no second doses of the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are available following a delay in supplies. And to date the country remains without second doses.
But Minister Anthony speculated on Wednesday that this long delay in shipment could be due to global events, particularly spikes in COVID-19 cases in Russia.
“There are various spikes around the globe, and you have in Moscow itself. You have spikes, new cases especially with the Delta variant, and in Moscow they have increased vaccination. So, I think globally there will be an issue of supply,” he explained.
Nevertheless, he reiterated that persons who have already received their first dose of the Sputnik V can wait up to 12 weeks to receive the second dose. Dr Anthony also assured that the second doses would arrive well within that timeframe.
“We have not exceeded that 12-weeks yet…and we are working very hard to make sure that we get those second doses in before that 12-weeks expire…I am reassured that we will get it before that 12-weeks expire. So, people out there can rest assure that they will get their second dose [Sputnik V] vaccine within that timeframe,” he posited.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister is encouraging persons who have not as yet taken any vaccine to take their first dose.
“We have enough first doses right now, that does not stop you from making sure that you come out and get your first dose vaccine. And we’ll be able to get you your second dose in time,” he posited.
However, Dr Anthony further reminded that second doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines are available, and he urged persons who are due for their second shot to go and get it.
To date, 229,053 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, representing 47.1 per cent of the adult population. Of these, a total of 101,246 persons, or 20.8 per cent of the population, are now fully inoculated.
“I think this is a milestone worth celebrating… With persons who’ve received both doses of their vaccines, we have not seen any of those persons coming to the hospital, meaning they don’t get the most severe form of the infection, nor have they been admitted to any of our ICUs or die from COVID, and I think that’s a very important thing for people to understand,” Dr Anthony stressed.
Last week, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon had called for the suspension of the Sputnik V vaccine amid concerns that the vaccines were fake – something which Government has vehemently denied. In defending the use of the Russian-made jab, it had pointed to the adequate paper trail and detailed processes in place to track the authenticity of the Sputnik V vaccines being used to immunise the population.
In fact, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), in a letter to Dr Anthony on Tuesday, confirmed the authenticity of the Sputnik V vaccines. In the correspondence from RDIF Director General Alexander Christyakov, it was noted that batches were dispatched to a company called Aurugulf in the United Arab Emirates, which received authority to sell and distribute Sputnik V shots to other countries, including Guyana. All documentation relation to the batch release, certification of analysis and packing list were also provided.
Nevertheless, Harmon, who is fully vaccinated with the said Russian-made jab, on Monday had admitted that the question of the authenticity of the Sputnik vaccine “is not so much of an issue”. (G8)