Guyana approves Russia’s Sputnik, China’s Sinopharm COVID vaccines for emergency use

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Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday confirmed that Guyana granted emergency use approval of the Russian Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine, as well as, China’s Sinopharm vaccine.

The Health Minister made the announcement during the daily COVID-19 update and noted that the emergency use approval was granted by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Administration. Guyana is now the 33rd country in the world to approve Sputnik V.

However, these vaccines were not granted approval by the World Health Organisation (WHO), but Minister Anthony stated that the paperwork was submitted for both vaccines to be approved.

“In the case of the Sputnik V, we have been in discussions with the Russian manufacturer for quite some weeks. When we review the data from the vaccine, we saw that the vaccine is about 90.6 per cent efficacious and of the vaccines so far, this one has very high efficacy and we have started discussions with them in order to be able to get some of these vaccines to Guyana. Those discussions have advanced and we have been able through our Food and Drug Administration here to issue an emergency use authorisation for these vaccines.

“We have also issued emergency use authorisation for the Sinopharm vaccine which has an efficacy of 79.4 per cent,” the minister explained.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

Minister Anthony further revealed that Guyana sought to look at three methods to approve vaccines.

“The first is if the vaccine has been improved by what is called a stringent regulatory authority, so when we talk about stringent regulatory authorities we are talking about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, in Canada, in the UK, in Australia and in Europe,” the minister said.

He added: “Another way of approving these vaccines is if they have been approved by the WHO.”

So far, the WHO has only granted approval for two vaccines – the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

The third method for approving vaccines is to see whether it has been approved by large countries in the region. In this case, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay and Nicaragua approved the Sputnik vaccine, while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the only Caribbean country to approve its use.

Minister Anthony stated that Guyana is finalising arrangements for the Sputnik vaccines to be shipped here, however, he could not say how many doses the country is set to receive.

“We are still working on the amount of doses and when it would arrive and so forth,” the minister said.

The announcement of the approval of the Sputnik vaccine was first made in a statement by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday.

The statement noted that “The vaccine was approved under the emergency use authorization procedure. The vaccine is one of the world’s top three coronavirus vaccines in terms of the number of approvals issued by government regulators,” RDIF stated.

Chief Executive Officer of RDIF (CEO) Kirill Dmitriev also noted, “Countries of South America continue to demonstrate strong interest in Sputnik V and today [Tuesday] we announce the registration of the vaccine in Guyana. Overall it is now approved in 33 countries making an important contribution to the global fight against the pandemic.”

According to RDIF, the efficacy of the Sputnik V is 91.6% and it is one of the only three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90%.

“Sputnik V provides full protection against severe cases of COVID-19. Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.”

It was also noted that this vaccine is much cheaper and can be stored in a conventional refrigerator.

Additionally, there are no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V and the developers are working collaboratively with AstraZeneca on a joint clinical trial to improve the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Meanwhile, Guyana will procure some 104,000 vaccines through the COVAX facility; it has also received a pledge of 22,000 vaccine does from China and another 149,000 through the CARICOM/ African Union agreement.

On February 10, 2021, Barbados donated 3000 doses of its Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to Guyana. This dosage would be administered to 1, 500 persons with two doses per individual.

 

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