COVID vaccines arrive, immunization to start Thursday – Dr Anthony

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The Ministry of Health is set to begin its COVID-19 vaccination rollout on Thursday following a donation of some 3,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from Barbados.

This first tranche will be administered to frontline health workers; Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony reiterated that it is not mandatory for anyone to take the vaccine.

“Tomorrow we will have an exercise and we will get the persons from the Georgetown Hospital and those in charge of the Ocean View facility, so we will start with those persons.

“If they don’t want it, that’s fine but we want to make sure that they have an option to get it,” the Health Minister told the media on Wednesday at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

The cold-storage truck transporting the COVID-19 vaccines (Photo: News Room/February 10, 2021)

The vaccines arrived in Guyana on Wednesday on a Regional Security System (RSS) chartered flight.

Barbados and Dominica are among the first set of Caribbean countries to receive its COVID-19 vaccines. Barbados received 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on Tuesday from India and donated 3,000 doses to Guyana. These vaccines will be administered to 1,500 persons here, the majority of whom will be frontline health workers, while 100 persons will be vaccinated at the CARICOM Secretariat.

The vaccines are to be administered twice to one person with the second dose to be given four to 12 weeks after the first. Dr Anthony expressed thanks to the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley for the donation.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is expected to officially list the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as as an emergency on Thursday.

“The expert committee on vaccine met yesterday and have green-lighted the AstraZeneca vaccine, so the WHO is going to put it as one of the vaccines under the emergency use listing and that will happen tomorrow,” Dr Anthony said.

When asked whether he will be taking the jab in this dosage, the Health Minister responded, “I am not really at the frontline so I would prefer that the persons who are interacting with patients and so forth that they get the vaccine first because they are more at risk and later on I will take the vaccine.”

President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali in a statement on Wednesday stated that in the coming days and weeks, Guyana will be in receipt of various tranches of vaccines from India, China, COVAX and the CARICOM African Union agreement.

The President assured that the government’s top priority is to have every Guyanese vaccinated before the end of the year.

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