Health Ministry seeks expert for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine

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The Ministry of Health has applied for a grant from COVAX – the agency through which Guyana will receive its COVID-19 vaccines – to get an expert to provide technical assistance to administer the vaccines here.
According to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, a favourable response is expected from COVAX.

“We are expecting a favourable response from them because this is a totally new technology to us,” Dr Anthony said.

In the new upcoming year, intense training for the rollout of the vaccine will be initiated. This will include how to register persons for the vaccine, education on possible side effects, getting consent and administering the vaccine itself.

“We will have to do a follow-up depending on which vaccine we are using, either people might have to come back after three weeks or 28 days to get second dose,” the Minister said.

The team of medical professionals who will be handling the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Guyana will be identified this week, the Health Minister revealed recently.

According to the Minister, a number of persons are already approved and the list is now being finalised. Professionals with expertise in vaccine storage, logistics, and management are being targeted to be on the team.

The government has also issued tenders for the procurement of cold storage trucks in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Once the vaccine is handed over to Guyana, frontline health workers will be administered first followed by persons with underlying health conditions and the elderly.

Meanwhile, GeneXpert machines are now being used to carry out COVID-19 tests. Guyana has five machines which were previously used to test persons for tuberculosis, but the machines have now been recalibrated to test for COVID-19. The Health Minister explained that specialized cartridges were also procured for the machines to be used for this purpose.

“So those five machines have now been recalibrated and we are capable of using the COVID-19 specialized cartridges to test for COVID-19 and we have trained our staff and we have deployed some of these machines to the regional hospitals,” the Health Minister explained.

The Minister revealed that five other machines were also procured and should arrive in the country soon.

Additionally, the government recently implemented rapid antigen testing, which is done within 20-30 minutes but a more accurate test, the PCR test is done with the results available within 24hrs.

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