Guyana on Monday received a consignment of 24,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility – the first quota of vaccines Guyana has received through the global initiative for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of vaccines.
Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, speaking at the presentation ceremony at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, said the vaccines would boost Guyana’s COVID-19 immunization campaign and help to accelerate efforts to reach herd immunity in a timely manner.
“The Government will invest whatever is necessary so that every citizen in our country and every one resident in our country, including those migrants, are vaccinated against COVID 19,” he said.
Dr. Ramsammy said teams have been dispatched to the East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) to visit the homes of people physically unable to visit the vaccination sites. To date, more than 31,000 people have been vaccinated.
In addition to expanding the vaccination exercise to include persons aged 40 and older, the Ministry will be administering the second doses to those who received their first jabs a few weeks ago.
Dr. Ramsammy also expressed gratitude to COVAX for the vaccines.
Guyana is one of ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are receiving vaccines at no cost through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
According to the first round of COVAX allocations, Guyana is expected to continue receiving doses through May until it reaches 100,800.
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Representative in Guyana, Dr. Luis Felipe Codina said the other 84,000 doses will arrive between April and May.
Acting UNICEF Representative, Irfan Akhtar said with the arrival of the vaccines, officials “should ensure no one is left behind”.
“This means there should be equitable distribution of vaccines in different regions, especially those regions which are hard to reach,” he said.
Guyana is also expected to receive 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia soon.
The Government is aiming to vaccinate at least 10,000 people daily.
The first case of COVID-19 in Guyana was reported in March 2020. Between then and Sunday, the country had confirmed 10,168 cases and 227 deaths.