Jul 31, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The 65 Members of the National Assembly are slated to meet for a sitting of the Legislature on Tuesday, at which time, former Minister of Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, is expected to query of substantive Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, among other things, the total bill paid thus far for COVID-19 vaccines.
The line of questioning has since been formally placed on the agenda on the Order Paper for Tuesday’s sitting where Dr. Cummings is expected to also inquire into whether the Ministry of Health procured adequate vaccines to be given to the citizens of Guyana, as efforts are being made to contain the SARS-CoV-2 Virus and achieve herd immunity.
Additionally, the former Health Minister, now opposition Shadow Minister for the Health Sector, is also looking to have an explanation behind some of the factors that influenced the purchase of AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, and Sinopharm as against the Pfizer or Moderna for the nation’s citizens.
Dr. Cummings in her questions on the agenda is asking the minister to “inform this noble Assembly how much money has been spent to purchase COVID-19 vaccines so far.”
Additionally, it is being noted by Dr. Cummings that, since the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) single dose vaccine can be kept for three months at temperatures between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and has a long shelf life of two years, “is there any storage facility in the Ministry of Health or in the Administrative Regions that can accommodate the storage of the J&J vaccine at the optimal temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius?”
She notes too that in light of the COVID-19 deaths, can the Minister of Health explain “to this National Assembly if the Ministry of Health is equipped to perform a quick response to vaccine safety signals, or to engage in vaccine pharmacovigilance to identify the rare instances where real adverse reactions occur, so that their effects can be diminished?”
Additionally, the opposition member is also seeking to find out from the Minister of Health “if there is a Communication Strategy in place to address vaccine hesitancy in some areas of the populace, as well as to promote awareness of the vaccine risks and benefits.”
Dr. Cummings in her line of questioning, has since also noted that “there being in excess of 1,500 members of the populace in home isolation,” used the opportunity to question whether there “is robust contact tracing being done in the 10 Administrative Regions of Guyana, especially at the epicenter, Region #4, and at the other regional hot spots to identify persons who are at high risk of COVID-19 or who may have had the P1 variant?”
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