Health Ministry partners with communities, others to speed up COVID vaccination rollout  

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In a bid to get Guyana closer to herd immunity, the Ministry of Health is partnering with other ministries, several faith-based organisations, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), clubs and communities to get the vaccine out to the most vulnerable.

On Tuesday, the Ministry launched yet another initiative – a vaccine drive at the Burn’s Memorial Presbyterian Church on Vlissingen Road, Georgetown.

The Government of Guyana has set itself a bold goal, to vaccinate all of its citizens by the end of 2021. Globally, at least seven different vaccines across three platforms have been rolled out with Guyana starting its Covid-19 immunization drive with frontline health workers on February 11 2021.

In addition to the more than thirty fixed COVID-19 Vaccination Sites across the country, Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy explained the Ministry’s plan to speed up vaccinations.

Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to the Minister of Health described the Ministry’s plan to speed up vaccinations Source News Room March 16 2021

“We have roving teams, so I am happy to say that we have teams in each region going to people’s homes, people who are not ambulatory, so we don’t want people to endure the pain of fetching their loved ones to come and get their vaccine. So, if they are homebound, we come to you and so for people who call us and explain their situation we send the team to their home because this group that we are focusing on right now are the elderly, 60 and older, we have decided, that in addition to people who chose to come to us at our fixed sites that we will go to them. What you are seeing today, at the Burn’s Memorial Presbyterian Church is an example of us coming to the people,” he said.

The Burn’s Memorial Vaccination initiative was organised by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, who shared her thought process and motivation behind Tuesday’s jab mobilisation; highlighting that if other groups wished to do the same, the process demanded some amount of organisation and gathering of a sizeable group in a space where social distancing could be observed.

Priya Manickchand, Minister of Education shares why she organised the initiative Source News Room March 16 2021

“This is the over 60 population of the East Demerara parish of the presbyterian church. So, what we did was amongst the churches, Burn’s here in Georgetown, Ogle, Triumph and Better Hope organised to get our over 60 population to one location so that it would make sense for the Ministry of Health to come to the location and administer the vaccines,” she said.

The News Room spoke to some of the persons who came out to fortify their immune system against the COVID-19 virus that has already claimed 209 lives in Guyana. Bishop Murtland Raphael Massiah said, “I came forward in order to protect myself, protect my family, protect my community and I want to invite you to do the same.” A parishioner of the Burn’s Memorial Presbyterian Church, Pearl Tucker, also shared her experience “I’m not scared, the idea is a lot of people are taking it, bigger than me take it, older than me are taking it, so I have no problem…the actual vaccine is quite ok, you’re not feeling anything and they said you might have some fever… so far, thank God, nothing.” A member from the Ogle Presbyterian Church, Elsa Appana also had some encouraging words: “I am most grateful to take this vaccine which I know is real, real benefit especially these ageable people like me, with sickness… sugar, pressure or anything and can advise y’all, anyone who doesn’t take it yet, please, it’s for your own health and it’s just a minute and I took it and I’m ok.”

Bishop Dr Murtland Raphael Massiah speaks about his experience at the Burn’s Memorial Vaccination Site

Dr Ramsammy later explained that the Burn’s Memorial Vaccination mobilisation is just one of many future partnerships with the exercise acting as a blueprint to be copied around the country.

He encouraged faith leaders and NDC’s to “use their mobilisation power to bring people together.” Further sharing that on Thursday, March 18, 2021, an NDC style mobilisation will take place in Canal Polder Number Two, where more than 300 senior citizens have been identified.

Another partnership with Vindhya Persaud, Minister of Human Services and Social Security will happen at the Ministry’s outreach in Tuschen. Dr Ramsammy is urging other groups and NDC’s to do the same, with vaccination programmes rolling out in Region Nine this past week as of March 15, 2021.

Guyana is currently administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines and is expected to receive Russia’s Sputnik 5 COVID-19 vaccine this Thursday, March 18, 2021.

If you are anyone in your community would like to partner with the Ministry of Health to roll out vaccines in your area, you can call 226-1560.

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