‘Fundamentally wrong’ to revaccinate people among global shortage of vaccines – Health Minister

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Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony says it is fundamentally wrong to revaccinate someone who is already fully vaccinated and therefore protected against COVID-19 while many people around the world are still unable to access vaccines because of a global shortage.

He said this on Friday while responding to questions from the News Room during his daily COVID-19 update.  Some countries will require travellers to be fully vaccinated with specific COVID-19 vaccines before entry. Some people have expressed concerns that being vaccinated with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, for example, could limit their ability to freely travel abroad since it may not be recognised.

Revaccination could be a possible solution to this challenge; this refers to getting vaccinated with another COVID-19 vaccine even though you are already fully vaccinated. And already, Advisor to the Health Ministry Dr. Leslie Ramsammy recently told the News Room that the government is exploring several solutions, including possible revaccination of people to allow the free movement of people.

But, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony does not believe that revaccination should be pursued at this point in time.

“… what is wrong about that is that you will end up using two sets of vaccines on one person when there is a global shortage.

“Something is fundamentally wrong with that at this point in time,” Dr. Anthony underscored.

The Health Minister did not comment on the emerging travel restrictions and whether the ministry is concerned about the possible non-recognition of the Sputnik V vaccine, which has been dubbed the ‘backbone’ of Guyana’s COVID-19 immunisation rollout.

The Health Minister’s sentiments were, nevertheless, shared by PAHO Assistant Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa.

While answering a question from the News Room during the Pan- American Health Organization (PAHO)’s weekly virtual press briefing, Dr. Barbosa said: “In a situation where there are so many inequalities in access (to vaccines), any additional requests about vaccines can be a barrier that will increase inequity in access by people.

“Our recommendation is that access should be broadened in all countries.”

Meanwhile, as he has said before, the Health Minister underscored that there is no medical need for revaccination since being fully vaccinated with any vaccine would already offer the necessary protection.

There may be a need for ‘booster’ shots with some of the mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) since the immunity provided by these vaccines in some categories of people (such as older folks) may wean over time. Dr. Anthony said in that such cases, getting additional doses may be necessary.

Similarly, PAHO’s Dr. Barbosa said, in no uncertain terms, that there is no need for someone to get revaccinated.

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