Health workers being trained to administer COVID-19 vaccine
Healthcare workers are being trained on how to properly administer the different types of COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being rolled out around the world. Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony on Thursday said the health workers are also being trained to detect the adverse effects of the vaccine. The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines were granted emergency authorisation use.
“We are taking staff that would have worked with vaccination programmes before, both at the national level and at the regional level, but we are training them more specifically to deal with the type of COVID-19 vaccines that we are expecting,” Dr Anthony said.
He explained that the vaccines would have different requirements on how it is administered, how it is stored and where it is administered.
To this end, the Health Minister said the recently appointed National COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force is working to ensure Guyana is prepared and ready at every level for the first dosage. In terms of storage for the vaccines, the minister said vaccination centers are being reviewed and upgraded. Additionally, the government has also procured the relevant freezers and generators, some of which are currently being shipped to Guyana.
“We have started our preparedness for vaccine in terms of the documentation that is necessary, so we have prepared what is called a National Vaccine Preparedness Plan and that is the roadmap that we are using to rollout vaccines in Guyana,” the Health Minister said.
Guyana should be finalising its preparations by the end of January.
“We are working to ensure Guyana get a vaccine soon.”
Meanwhile, the minister is urging citizens to be vaccinated since it might be the only thing to protect them against the dreaded virus.
Since no law was ever put in place for the vaccination of adults and the current COVID-19 vaccines cannot be used to immunise child, the government is looking to close a gap in the country’s vaccination law. Guyana only has laws that address vaccination for children. The minister had previously announced that the Coronavirus Immunisation Bill will be brought before the National Assembly early this year.
Guyana will access a COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX mechanism, which was launched in April 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), in response to the pandemic. This mechanism seeks to ensure people in all parts of the world are able to access COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.
The first group of persons to receive the vaccines will be healthcare workers while the second dose will get to the older population and persons with comorbidities.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in a statement on Thursday called for a global summit in the context of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ACT-A Facilitation Council to discuss equitable access and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.