African Union to share vaccines with CARICOM

Frank Anthony

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The African Union has allocated 1.5 million doses  of the US manufactured Johnson & Johnson vaccines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana’s Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony announced here on Monday.

Regional countries have in the past complained of their inability to secure vaccines from the producing countries because those countries have not made their products commercially viable and in many instances, the governments of these countries have sought to use their vaccines to vaccinate their populations from the virus that has been blamed for infection and killing millions of people.

Speaking on the 94.1FM radio program, Dr. Anthony said that Guyana is expected to receive 150,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by mid-June.

He said Guyana has already made a down payment on its allocation for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a one-shot vaccine and has an efficacy rate of more than 70 per cent.

Anthony said the vaccines are being sourced through the African Union.

“The African Union has allocated to CARICOM as a whole, 1.5 million doses of vaccines, and of that lot, Guyana is being given 150,000 doses. Last week they asked us for a down payment. We have made that down payment and we are now in the process of finalizing all of the logistical arrangements”, Dr. Anthony said.

The health minister told radio listeners that the vaccines will be rolled out as part of the government’s nationwide vaccination drive and that communities in the outlying regions that are difficult to reach are the ones that will mostly be targeted with the Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine.

Guyana health authorities say that so far, more than 198,000 people have received the first shot of one of the COVID-19 vaccines and more than 60,000 persons have received both shots.

Anthony said the second dose of the Russian-made Sputnik vaccine will arrive this week to continue the immunization of people who have already received the first shot.

He also said those who have received a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine can access their second shot once it has been four weeks since that first shot.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Public Health announced that three persons have died from the virus taking the total number of deaths recorded since March 11, last year to 385 while 86 deaths have been recorded in the month of May.

The latest fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health, are a male and two females ranging in ages from 58 to 71 years.

In addition to the new deaths recorded, 88 new people were infected with COVID-19 over a 24-hour period, pushing the total to 16,910. The authorities said that there are also 23 people in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There are also 103 people in institutional isolation, 1,996 are in home isolation and five in institutional quarantine.