Health Minister not hesitant to take COVID vaccine as Cabinet members to receive jab next week

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Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony has praised the response of the elderly population to getting vaccinated against COVID-19 but noted that he is “still thinking” of receiving the jab himself.

Noting that he is not at a high risk of contracting the disease, Dr Anthony on Thursday told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that he prefers the elderly population and those persons with comorbidities to be vaccinated first.

When asked specifically by DPI’s Communication Officer whether he will take the vaccine in this round, Dr Anthony responded: “I’m still thinking about it. But I think the most important thing is to make sure that people get their vaccines and that’s what I’m working on. I’ll eventually get mine. I really don’t have any hesitation to take it and having worked in this field for many years, it’s not really an issue. I would prefer that we do all the thing to make sure that we can get people their vaccines as quickly as possible and that is what my focus has been on.”

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

The Health Minister further emphasised: “At the right time, I will certainly take mine. It’s really not an issue for me.”

When probed further by a reporter who sat in on the DPI interview, Dr Anthony committed to taking the vaccine at a later date if it meant that it will help public confidence.

However, he said, “While I interact with people, I am not at such high risk for COVID and I really have changed my behaviour in terms of interaction and so forth to minimise those risks.”

The Health Minister said former Presidents Samuel Hinds, David Granger and Donald Ramotar have all taken the vaccine and currently, officials from his ministry are in discussion with the Parliament to have Members of Parliament (MPs) vaccinated. Additionally, the vaccines will be made available to members of the Cabinet.

“We’re talking to the Parliament and we’re making arrangements to ensure MPs, who would like to have their vaccines in this round that we’re able to give the vaccines to them and I’m sure over the next week or so, different members of the cabinet would be taking their vaccines,” Dr Anthony explained.

Some of the elderly persons who received their vaccines in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) (Photo; DPI/March 11, 2021)

Guyana continues to vaccinate its frontline healthcare workers, who are estimated to be 12,000 in the private and public sectors, while countrywide immunisation began this week for persons over 60.

A total of 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived here in recent days; the vaccines were donated by the Chinese and Indian governments; 80, 000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from India arrived on March 07 and 20,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccines from China arrived on March 03.

Before the end of the month, Guyana will receive thousands of doses more of vaccines through the COVAX facility and the CARICOM/ African Union agreement.

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