Guyana striving for equitable distribution of vaccines
- Despite geographical challenges
Despite geographical challenges that constrain a swift vaccination rollout, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, has assured citizens that the country is striving for an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines across all regions.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday, the Health Minister said that people in the hinterland communities were receiving their COVID-19 vaccines. These communities are in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo).
“They have access because in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, we have special programmes where our health teams are going into every village and those who want to get vaccines, we are able to give them the vaccines,” the Health Minister highlighted.
He also noted that specific focus has been placed on intensifying outreach activities for the vaccination rollout in these communities. He said that several teams have been working in various sub-districts and vaccinating communities simultaneously in Region Nine. This region was the first to vaccinate all of its health workers.
Importantly, Dr Anthony said that Region Eight has presented some “peculiar challenges” to vaccination rollout teams due to the mountainous geography. Nevertheless, he said that the teams will be continuing their outreach efforts here.
Though the Ministry of Health has scores of fixed sites across the country, in all administrative regions, the ministry has mobile sites in various locations, intermittently.
Beginning on Friday, there will be mobile sites in various communities in Region Eight. People from this region would be able to get their vaccines at the Chenapou Health Centre from Friday, April 23 to Tuesday, April 27; the Chuing Mouth Health Post on April 27; and, Karisparu Health Post from April 27 to Friday, April 30. These mobile sites will be operational from 08:00 hrs to 16:30 hrs.
Another challenge, he said, has been some amount of vaccine hesitancy in the regions. To this end, he said that the local health authorities have been engaging and edifying religious and community leaders, so that they can help to educate the population segments and help increase vaccine acceptance.
Already, Guyana has been able to administer the first vaccine dose to 111,825 people while 1,771 people are fully immunised (that is, they have received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccines.
The Health Minister said that the health authorities continue to work with the stakeholders in the community so that a collaborative effort can help to increase vaccine acceptance.
“It doesn’t make sense that you have the vaccines and you have them in storage. The only way vaccines would help people is if you get it in people’s arms,” the Health Minister underscored.