Gov’t orders monkeypox vaccines, sets up isolation area at Liliendaal hospital

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Although there is no one infected with monkeypox in Guyana, the government has ordered vaccines to bolster ongoing efforts meant to protect the population from the spread of this virus, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony disclosed on Wednesday.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony.

Monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a virus transmitted to humans from animals with symptoms similar to those experienced by smallpox patients. The spread of this virus has become a matter of international concern.

To counter the growing threat, Dr. Anthony told reporters that local health authorities have been seeking support from the Pan- American Health Organization (PAHO).

“We have put in an order (with PAHO) and we’ll see what it costs and if the government would have to pay the costs we’ll deal with that.

“We just wanna make sure that we have some supplies in country,” Dr. Anthony underscored.

Already, PAHO has facilitated training for key medical personnel so that they can detect and treat the virus.

Beyond that, however, the minister revealed that PAHO has been compiling a list of countries interested in securing vaccines that will help protect people from the monkeypox virus.

It was only on Tuesday that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Jynneos vaccine for adults at high risk for monkeypox infection. Other countries in the Caribbean are trying to secure this vaccine to protect their populations from monkeypox.

Dr. Anthony also said that the government is exploring whether it should secure smallpox vaccines since those may prove beneficial too.

While these efforts are underway, the Health Minister also said that essential steps have already been taken. Aside from the medical personnel trained through PAHO, local facilities have been upgraded and medical workers engaged.

If someone does become infected and it is necessary to isolate them, Dr. Anthony also revealed that a section of the National Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown, will be used as an isolation space.

But he assured Guyanese that the local health authorities are trying to keep alert so that the virus would not spread to Guyana.

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