‘Protective effect of COVID vaccines outweigh side effects’ – Health Minister

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In another push to encourage Guyanese to get vaccinated, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday sought to dispel as myths claims that vaccination could result in infertility, mental illness and paralysis.

“The protective effects of these vaccines far outweigh the side effects,” the Minister said during his daily COVID-19 update on Monday.

Acknowledging that there may be some mild side effects of pain and fever, which are usually short-lived, Dr. Anthony said the vaccines can be trusted.

Guyana is currently administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines to frontline health workers and persons 60-years-old and older.

Dr. Anthony said while one person who took the vaccine during its trial stages developed paralysis it was later proven that it had no connection to the vaccine.

“While you will get some pain and some fever which usually stays for a short period. What also happens is that your immune system will develop antibodies to protect you from COVID and that is what is important,” he added.

Pointing out that vaccines have been around for more than 100 years, Dr. Anthony said he is also unaware that persons can develop mental illness and infertility from taking the COVID vaccines.

This is completely contrary to the literature, he said.

“Vaccines protect people… we have all seen how they work with children” he added

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony speaks with Brinnet Bernarai, the pharmacist who received the first jab (Photo: DPI/February 11, 2021)

Meanwhile, the Minister said the younger generations of Guyanese will have to wait until older groups are vaccinated before they receive the jab.

With Guyana expecting more vaccines shortly amid a global shortage, the Minister said once the current categories are complete the age will be dropped but only to include the older persons that are yet to be vaccinated.

“By the data know older persons (above 60) make up 60, 000 to 65,000. Once completed then got to other age groups, we can do above 50 and then above 40 and so forth,” he explained.

The Minister said the challenge right now is making sure there are adequate supplies of vaccines for all Guyanese to be vaccinated before the end of the year.

He noted, however, that already people are responding well, and the only way to get out of the pandemic if for most of the adult population to be vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony said Guyana will protect the most vulnerable first.

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