Sputnik V second doses possibly delayed by Russia’s ‘COVID’ surge – Health Minister

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The delay in the shipment of a batch of second doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, which are manufactured in Russia, could be due to a surge in the number of new COVID-19 infections being recorded in that country.

This is according to the Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, who assured members of the public that the health ministry is working assiduously to get these vaccines brought into the country at soonest.

On the sidelines of an event on Monday, the Health Minister noted that the surge in COVID-19 cases has been attributed to the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant which originated in India.

According to the Moscow Times, a Russian news agency, the spread of this new variant threatens to overwhelm Moscow’s hospitals.

“… that might be one of the reasons why we are having difficulties in getting the supplies needed because in Russia they have accelerated vaccination of their own population,” the Health Minister said.

He, however, assured members of the public that the local authorities are working to see how fast those second doses can be brought into Guyana. This batch of vaccines has been expected for a few weeks now.

Unlike the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines, which are also being used in Guyana’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the second dose of the Russian vaccine is different from the first. As such, someone who is due for their second dose cannot take another first dose.

The Minister, however, reiterated that  people who are due to receive this second dose can wait up to a maximum of twelve weeks, instead of just four weeks as written on their vaccination cards.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

According to a press statement from the Gamaleya Research Centre, which developed the Sputnik V vaccine, it is possible to increase the minimum interval between the first and second vaccine shots from the earlier approved 21 days up to three months.

“Extending the interval will not affect the vaccine-induced immune response, and, in some cases, will enhance and prolong it,” Director of the Gamaleya Research Centre, Dr. Alexander Gintsburg was quoted as saying.

Dr. Anthony, on Monday, stated that the Ministry is hopeful of having those vaccines brought into Guyana before that additional eight-week period is completed for the first set of people who require their second Sputnik V dose.

 

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