Small amount of COVID-19 vaccines spoilt in Region 9


A small amount of the COVID-19 vaccines were spoilt after a health team encountered difficulties leaving the Gunns village, in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), where they went to conduct a vaccination outreach.

At the sidelines of an event on Friday, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, noted that the team of health workers were stuck in the village after they went to vaccinate villagers. According to the minister, for a few days, no aircraft could have gone there to retrieve the workers nor to provide dry ice to keep the vaccines at their required cold temperature.

Without the dry ice and without adequate cold storage, the minister explained that some of the vaccines that were not used by the villagers were spoiled. When asked how many vaccines were spoilt, the minister could not provide an exact figure but said, “It was not a large number.”

Explaining the logistics behind the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines in Guyana, the minister said, “The challenge that we have in the hinterland, vaccines that we generally use in Guyana, the temperature that you have to store them at is usually two to eight degrees celsius.”

He added: “For vaccines like the AstraZeneca vaccine, that is not a problem because we have a network of cold-chain if you like, or places around the country, that can handle two to eight (degrees) vaccines.”

However, he explained that the Russian Sputnik V vaccines have to be stored at minus 18 to minus 20 degrees. It is for these reasons when they are taken out of the freezers and containers stored in, they have to be transported in dry ice. The dry ice keeps them cold for about three days.

And since there are these cold chain storage requirements, he emphasised, “If you take out the vaccine and you thaw it out and you don’t have somebody to give it out, you cannot put it back.”

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