Feb 25, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The government, through the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, has granted emergency use approval for the Russian Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine and China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, both of which Guyana is expected to receive soon.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, made the revelation during the daily COVID-19 update yesterday. Dr. Anthony noted that both vaccines were not granted approval by the World Health Organization (WHO), but requests for the vaccines to be approved would have already been submitted by manufacturers.
Kaieteur News learnt that while the WHO approves vaccines for global use, countries can individually grant emergency use approvals for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Health Minister said that the government sought three methods for vaccine emergency approvals. “The first is if the vaccine has been improved by what is called a stringent regulatory authority, so when we talk about stringent regulatory authorities we are talking about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, in Canada, in the UK, in Australia and in Europe,” Dr. Anthony noted.
He further stated that the second method is if the vaccines would have been approved by the WHO, but so far, the organization would have only granted emergency use approval for the Pfizer BioNTech, and two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Minister Anthony, the third method for approving vaccines is to observe whether they would have been approved by large countries in the region. In this instance, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay (countries in South America), Nicaragua (Central America) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (the Caribbean), approved the Russian Sputnik vaccine. It must be noted that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the only Caribbean country with an emergency use approval for this vaccine.
“In the case of the Sputnik V, we have been in discussions with the Russian manufacturer for quite some weeks. When we review the data from the vaccine, we saw that the vaccine is about 90.6 percent efficacious and of the vaccines so far, this one has very high efficacy and we have started discussions with them in order to be able to get some of these vaccines to Guyana,” the Health Minister disclosed.
This publication understands that the discussions started since last year and would have advanced.
Minister Anthony added that the government is finalizing arrangements for the Sputnik vaccines to be shipped to Guyana, but as it relates to the number of doses, he could not say definitively.
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