Health Minister advises against taking COVID vaccine and filaria pills on same day

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Out of an abundance of caution, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony is advising persons against taking the filaria pills and the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on the same day.

There is an ongoing mass drug administration campaign with the aim to eliminate filaria in Guyana, along with the immunisation of 1,400 frontline health workers against COVID-19.

While there is no evidence linking any adverse side effects after taking both medication on the same day, Dr Anthony emphasised that this decision was taken out of an abundance of caution.

“There is nothing that prevents taking the vaccine if you’ve had filaria pills. [But], internally, we have come up with a protocol that says ‘okay just to make sure that we are able to monitor people to see whether there are any side effects, don’t take the things on the same day, that is just out of an abundance of caution,” the Health Minister said.

He said side effects from either can be difficult to trace when taken together.

“When we give you the vaccine, we want to have enough time to monitor you to make sure that there is no reaction and if there is a reaction, we can actually attribute that to the vaccine that you have taken.”

Meanwhile, the mass drug administration campaign kicked off in Regions Three and Four two weeks ago and will be launched soon in the other administrative regions soon.

The minister said the response so far has been good.

“As of yesterday, we have had close to 166,000 people who would have received their filaria pill and that is good. But we need to keep working and we need to encourage more people to take the tablets,” the minister said.

The goal is to get 75 per cent of the population take the pills for Guyana to be declared filarial free. This is the second and final mass drug administration in the elimination of filaria campaign.

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