No harm in receiving COVID vaccine if positive but asymptomatic – Health Minister

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There is no harm in receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines that is administered locally even if an individual has been infected with the novel coronavirus but is asymptomatic (showing no symptoms), according to Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday, the Health Minister explained that there is no need for testing to be done before someone is administered with a COVID-19 vaccine, stating that the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against this.

During the vaccination process, a checklist is used to verify if someone is infected with COVID-19, more so if the individual is symptomatic (displaying some of the common symptoms). Dr Anthony explained that if someone is displaying such symptoms, the health staffer or volunteer who is conducting the registration would advise the individual to wait until they have recovered – which is generally about 10 days- before returning to get vaccinated.

Dr Anthony had previously noted that people should wait until they are recovered from COVID-19 before getting the jab.

But on Friday, he said: “If they (individuals who are asymptomatic) don’t do a test, nobody would know and in such circumstances, we’d give them the vaccine. There is no harm in them receiving the vaccine.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, stated that the COVID-19 vaccines can be given safely to people with prior SARS-Cov-2 infection; SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease, COVID-19. Moreover, the CDC underscored that people should defer vaccination until they have recovered from illness, even if displaying no symptoms.

Previously, the Health Minister noted that individuals would be advised to wait about six months after they were infected and recovered before getting the vaccine since the body would build natural immunity against the virus.

This, he explained, was not because vaccines would harm infected individuals but because of WHO’s advice for prioritising the distribution of vaccines to people with no immunity.

Now, however, he emphasised that Guyana has secured enough COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the targeted adult population and as such can administer vaccines to all adults, as soon as they recover.

“We don’t have that kind of restriction because we have enough vaccines for people and so we have changed that a little bit to allow for persons who have recovered, immediately after they’ve recovered or when we’ve considered them recovered, that they can come and they’ll be eligible to receive that vaccine,” he explained on Friday.

He also noted that 136,152 all across Guyana have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 4,675 people have received both required doses of the vaccines.

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