Mar 04, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – During Tuesday’s COVID-19 update, the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, stated that the government will be targeting elderly persons, 60 years and above, next in its COVID-19 immunization campaign.
Dr. Anthony explained that the immunization campaign is being rolled out in different stages. The first stage is the vaccination of frontline health workers. So far, Guyana has received 3,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 2,800 of which were allocated to frontline health care workers.
The Health Minister stated that with that allocation, the vaccination of frontline health workers would have been initiated in all 10 administrative regions and with the donation of the 20,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, which recently arrived, the government is hoping to cover as many people in frontline health as possible.
The second stage, he said, will be the vaccination of the elderly persons. The Health Ministry will be collaborating with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to do this. Dr. Anthony explained that elderly persons would be targeted for vaccination through the Human Services Ministry comprehensive database, which is used to distribute pension throughout Guyana. He further stated that the vaccination campaign would extend to elderly homes/geriatric facilities. Bedridden elderly persons will not be excluded, as a special team will be dispatched to their homes to administer the vaccines.
The third stage of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign will see persons with “some form of underlying illness” receiving the jab, according to Anthony. He explained that these illnesses might be diabetes or hypertension, which is also found in younger persons. “So if you are 40 and you have diabetes then you will become eligible, so that does not have an age cut off,” Minister Anthony assured.
“The criteria there, is that you are at risk because of the underlying illness. So we will be able to do a lot of other people in that category. After we have completed that, then we will go to other persons in the population,” he also stated.
The Health Minister said that as more vaccines become available, the age range for vaccine distribution would be lowered.
Dr. Anthony also sought to address concerns about when cabinet members will receive their vaccines, stating that “…His Excellency the President would decide when the government, the cabinet, would take the vaccine but our priority, as of now, is to ensure that those categories that I have mentioned, that they get the vaccine.”
He said that since the cabinet is a smaller group of persons, a large number of vaccines will not be required, but that is a consideration that will be made after the health workers would have gotten their vaccines.
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