– 61,000 persons fully vaccinated with Sputnik V
– as GAWU, FITUG bash Harmon for reckless, irresponsible statements
In light of Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon questioning the authenticity and efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine being administered in Guyana, Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy has disclosed that none of the approximately 61,000 persons who are fully vaccinated with the Russian-made jab have contracted the deadly virus.
During a press conference on Thursday, Harmon called for the administering of the Sputnik V vaccine to be suspended based on an article in a Norwegian tabloid newspaper that raised questions on how the vaccines were acquired.
However, the Government including President Dr Irfaan Ali has reassured Guyanese that the Sputnik V jabs that are being administered in Guyana are authentic since the batch number corresponds with the manufacturer’s data.
But even as Government rejects Harmon’s demand to suspend the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy on Friday called out the Opposition Leader over his hypocrisy after he admitted to being fully inoculated with the very vaccine, which he requested.
He also revealed that several other Members of Parliament from the APNU/AFC coalition as well as his own family members took the Russian-made jab, which some of them specifically requested.
According to Ramsammy in a statement, of the more than 227,000 Guyanese who have received their first dose, over 150,000 of them have taken the Sputnik V vaccine with about 61,000 persons being fully vaccinated.
He added too, that while a handful of persons who took the first dose alone have tested positive for COVID-19 – having been infected prior to being vaccinated – not a single person with both doses of the vaccine has contracted the life-threatening virus.
No fake vaccine
Ramsammy further pointed out that all of Guyana’s COVID-19 vaccines have been registered and approved for use here by the Guyana Food and Drug Department, which often depends on Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs), such as the USFDA and the European Medicine Authority. In the absence of approval by an SRA, the Department has also relied on the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Additionally, he said that there are two other mechanisms used to grant approval – one from CARPHA-CRS, which also uses a number of other reference regulatory authorities including the Brazilian Medicine Regulator (AVISA) and the Argentine Regulator. The final mechanism is an independent assessment by the Food and Drug Department itself.
“All the vaccines in use in Guyana have been approved through one or more of the above mechanisms. Every batch of vaccines that are presently used is accompanied by supporting documents, identifying the country of origin, the batch (serial) number, the manufacturer and information about the product. All vials have a bar code that permits tracking directly to factory. No fake COVID-19 vaccine has ever entered Guyana,” the Health Advisor stated.
He further outlined that the Department as well as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) have ensured that all COVID-19 vaccines come from legitimate sources. He further stated that the Health Ministry receives documentation and ensures that the proper import licenses are issued prior to shipment.
“Mr Harmon’s assertion that the Sputnik vaccines are fake vaccines is reckless, absolutely reckless. It is an insult to the hardworking professionals at the Ministry of Health who are responsible for the safe and smooth operation of the vaccine programme, the Food and Drug Department, and those from the Guyana Revenue Authority (the Customs Branch),” the Health Advisor contended.