Guyana’s Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday said Guyana will receive over 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine once it has been granted emergency use approval.
The disclosure comes days after President Irfaan Ali announced that 3,800 COVID-19 vaccines will be available to Guyanese by February and March.
“Since that press conference, we have received correspondence from COVAX indicating that they have been able to do an indicative allocation of vaccines to Guyana. This is going to be close to 104,000 doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca that we’ll be getting shortly,” he said.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is currently before the World Health Organization for emergency use approval. The vaccine has already been approved by the United Kingdom, European Union, India and several other countries for emergency use.
Minister Anthony noted that this amount exceeds what was initially expected. It was previously reported that Guyana, in the first wave, would have received three percent of the 20 percent population coverage pledged by the COVAX Facility.
“We are very happy that they have indicated to us that we will be getting 104,000 doses as an initial start and we would be working closely with them to see when these vaccines will actually arrive in Guyana, and as soon as we get them we’ll start rolling out,” he said.
He added that a risk communication strategy has been developed as part of their education campaign to dispel myths and misconceptions about the vaccine.
“We would be using that to address certain myths and concerns that people might have and get that information over to the general public so that they can understand more about the vaccine, how it works and how it’s going to protect them,” he explained.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, are administered in two doses, weeks apart.
The Guyana government has been engaging several other countries, including India, China and Russia, along with CARICOM, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union to secure additional vaccines.
China has signaled its commitment to donate 20,000 doses of vaccines to Guyana and is currently finalizing the arrangement.