Migrants not excluded from COVID-19 vaccination drive

… more than 100,000 persons vaccinated locally

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After a significant scale-up in the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination efforts, more than 100,000 individuals have received their first of two doses of the vaccine and the Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, highlighted that migrants are not being excluded from the vaccination rollout.

“Our policy with vaccination right now is to ensure that whoever is in Guyana and once you are an adult that you will get a vaccine because herd immunity cannot be achieved by excluding people,” Dr Anthony said on Wednesday, during his daily COVID-19 briefing.

The Health Minister also related that other nationals who are working in Guyana would also receive the vaccines once they are in the country for a protracted period. Herd immunity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a way of protecting the population by developing widespread immunity from an infectious disease. Vaccinating populations is a way of ensuring herd immunity.

The WHO also encouraged countries to make provisions for refugees and migrants, particularly since these groups are disproportionately affected in times of crises.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) suggests that countries should identify low-income migrant workers, irregular migrants, those unable to physically distance, including those living in camps and camp-like settings, as priority groups for the allocation of COVID-19 vaccination globally.

Beyond the vaccination of migrants, the Health Minister highlighted that Guyana had surpassed the milestone of vaccinating 100,000 individuals with their first dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines being used locally. The vaccines being used are: the Indian Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

“I think the health workers who have been on this vaccination campaign have done a remarkable job for us to achieve this milestone,” he said but added that the country has a farther way to go before herd immunity can be achieved.

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