Feb 12, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Ministry of Health, kick-started its COVID-19 immunization programme yesterday, at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) using the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which was donated by Barbados. The first person to be injected with the vaccine was a pharmacist attached to the facility, Brinnet Bernarai, in the presence of health officials and the media.
Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, who was also present, referred to it as a significant moment in history. “This might look like a simple moment, but it marks the beginning of the turnaround of the pandemic in Guyana,” he stated.
Other frontline workers at the GPHC received the vaccine and then the team moved on to the Liliendaal Infectious Disease Hospital, better known as the Ocean View COVID-19 Hospital, on the East Coast of Demerara, where frontline workers were also immunized.
Dr. Anthony had announced yesterday’s event on Wednesday, while receiving the donation of vaccines from Barbados. He had stated that the Ministry would kick start immunization at the GPHC and Ocean View facility, and while the frontline health workers are being encouraged to take the vaccine, it is not mandatory. He added that the Ministry wanted to make sure the option is there nevertheless.
Frontline health workers have been given first preference for immunization in the country, with the elderly and persons with comorbidities set to follow. Dr. Anthony stated that the vaccination started at the GPHC, since it serves as the main managing unit for infected persons in the country. In light of that, health workers at the GPHC are more at risk. Approximately 22,000 healthcare workers are expected to be vaccinated in the public sector. Dr. Anthony also stated that health workers in the private sector will be vaccinated.
Further to this, the Minister said yesterday that the government’s goal is to achieve herd immunity which requires 80 percent of the population being vaccinated.
Following the donation by Barbados, President Irfaan Ali had stated that of the 3,000 doses received, 100 persons at the CARICOM Secretariat would stand to benefit while the remaining will be given to frontline healthcare workers.
The Barbados donation came from 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which was also Barbados’ first batch. The vaccine is administered in two doses, after the first, the second is given four to 12 weeks after.
Meanwhile, the Minister has stated that the government is working assiduously to procure more vaccines. The country is expected to receive 22,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from the government of China, while the COVAX facility will contribute 104,000 doses of the very Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to immunize 20 percent of Guyana’s population.
Kaieteur News understands that the World Health Organization was expected to officially list the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use yesterday.
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