COVID vaccines to expire soon but more will be available – Health Minister
Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony says that several COVID-19 vaccines, with the exception of the Chinese made Sinopharm, will expire soon but he promised that more will be made available to the wider public.
Dr Anthony spoke during his daily COVID-19 update on Wednesday but he failed to provide the expiration dates or the amount of vaccines that will go to waste.
Currently, the vaccines available here are AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Sinopharm.
“We have Sinopharm when we bought it, it had a very long expiry date, so that will go until 2023.
“Many of the other vaccines have relatively short dates so that is something that we have to constantly be vigilant on to make sure we are minimising lost due to expiry,” Dr Anthony said.
He further emphasised that once these vaccines expire, the government will procure more.
“When they expire, we will actually bring in more,” the Health Minister said, noting that the government has several sources of vaccine.
Guyana is still part of COVAX and according to Dr Anthony, many countries have donated vaccines through bilateral arrangements.
He reiterated that Guyana’s vaccination rate is relatively low now as people are not coming forward to take the jabs.
Dr Anthony said the ministry continues to maintain efficient and adequate cold storage to prevent any spoilage of vaccines.
“We have a very intensive network of vaccination storage in every region, when we are taking vaccines out to specific areas to do vaccination, we have special types of equipment including these types of iceboxes, and when it is necessary we have also been able to work with local companies that manufacture dry ice,” Dr Anthony revealed.
To date, 85.6 per cent of the adult population received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 66 per cent received their second dose. For the 12 to 17 age group, 47.2 per cent received their first dose and 34.5 per cent received their second dose. Booster doses are now at 61, 042.
Meanwhile, there are 101 active COVID cases with eight patients hospitalised.