Digitising vaccination records underway; to help combat forgery

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Efforts to digitise the COVID-19 vaccination records are underway as the Ministry of Health continues to grapple with the forgery of these cards and the general challenges of depending on a paper-based system.

This is according to the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony who was responding to questions from the News Room during his daily COVID-19 update on Wednesday.

Dr. Anthony acknowledged that Guyana has been using a “manual register” to document the data on the people who have received any of the COVID-19 vaccines administered locally. At the vaccination sites or outreach activities, an individual’s biographical information and later, their vaccination data is written on sheets of paper.

Those papers are then filed at a central location for record-keeping purposes. But, this means replacing a misplaced or stolen vaccine card is difficult. Dr. Anthony alluded to the paper-based system contributing to the forgery of the COVID-19 vaccination cards.

“All the manual registers we have, we are converting that into digital format,” the Health Minister said on Wednesday. He did not state when the process started but noted that it is an “ongoing process” and that staff has been recruited for this.

October 1, however, the News Room asked him about the process of getting a new vaccination card if one was misplaced or stolen and his response was: “… you will have to apply to the ministry to get one and it will take some time because you will have to go through the books to ensure that you are vaccinated in the first place.”

Then, he did not indicate that efforts were being made to digitise the vaccination records.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony also noted that Guyana would soon be able to utilise the Co-WIN software from India that would facilitate the digital record-keeping and retrieval system. In fact, he said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should be signed with the Indian government sometime this week.

“We’ll migrate the electronic data that we have into that software and we will be able to produce the new cards that people have,” Dr. Anthony explained.

Importantly, with the rollout of the digital measures, he categorically stated that people would not be able to forge the vaccination cards.

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