Health Minister says no need for new law to cover COVID-19 vaccination

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While the Health Ministry had aimed to close the gap in Guyana’s vaccination legislation by introducing a new Coronavirus Immunisation Bill that would address adult vaccination, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, on Wednesday said that there is no need for that legislation at this point.

“We’ve had a discussion on the legislation but we believe that we don’t need the legislation at this time,” Dr Anthony said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing.

“With the current legal framework that we have on the books already, we can proceed with vaccination and that’s what we’re doing,” he added.

Initially, it was thought that since Guyana’s vaccination law only covers vaccination for children, a new immunisation bill was necessary to cater for the vaccination of adults.

The 1974 Public Health (School children) Immunisation Act is an act that makes provision only for the immunisation of persons seeking entry into schools and day-care centres.

In December, Dr Anthony had explained that in seeking to introduce new legislation, the idea was not to force vaccines on anyone, but rather to guide the process of vaccination among adults, something the country never had before.

But the Health Minister has now said that the Ministry would not be pursuing the additional legislation at this time. The local health authorities have already administered 128,740 first doses of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are being distributed across Guyana. The vaccines Guyana received by Guyana are the Oxford-AstraZeneca produced by the Serum Institute of India, the Chinese Sinopharm and the Russian Sputnik V vaccines.

Each of these vaccines is given in two doses and already, 2,941 people have received both their first and second doses.

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