COVID vaccination sites to be established for patients with HIV, other comorbidities


The Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony has stated that the health ministry will intensify its vaccination efforts by making the National Care and Treatment Centre, at Thomas Street, Georgetown, into a COVID-19 vaccination site for people who are HIV positive.

“One of the issues we have heard is that persons who are HIV positive did not feel comfortable coming to one of our regular vaccination sites,” he said on Tuesday during his daily COVID-19 update, explaining the reason for establishing a vaccination site at the centre.

Further, he stated that patients who visit this centre for their regular HIV treatment would also receive counselling about taking the COVID-19 vaccines.

It is expected that this vaccination site would be established later this week. According to Dr. Anthony, the Health Ministry is hoping to provide these vaccination services at other treatment sites in other parts of the country.

“I think this is going to encourage more people to take the vaccines, persons who are HIV positive and we are hoping to see better uptake of the vaccines among this population,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition that is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus causes harm to the immune system and resultantly, interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.

Importantly, within the context of the pandemic, individuals who are living with HIV are considered increasingly vulnerable to COVID-19 since this would be considered comorbidity.

A comorbidity, also according to the WHO, refers to the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders in the same individual.

And, the minister also highlighted that the health authorities will be exploring how it can make the COVID-19 vaccines more easily accessible to people who are diagnosed with other comorbidities such as chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs include cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

Meanwhile, the health minister stated that at the end of Monday, a total of 235,796 people, or about 48.4 per cent of the targeted adult population received their first dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are used locally.

Additionally, 114,394 people or about 23.5 per cent of the targeted population received both their first and second doses of the vaccines. The vaccines used locally are the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines.

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