Gov’t working to remove COVID vaccine fears

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…says fears have been fueled by misinformation

The Ministry of Health has rolled out a ‘hesitancy survey’ to determine the fears and misconceptions Guyanese may have about taking COVID-19 vaccines. Its aim is to dispel these fears or misconceptions through the provision of information.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, made this announcement on Saturday during a press conference at State House.

Dr. Anthony said that throughout the progression of COVID-19 in Guyana, misinformation has spread making some persons hesitant of taking the vaccine.

The survey, along with a planned ‘Communication Risk Plan’, comes even as President Ali has announced that Guyana should begin receiving some 3,800 COVID-19 vaccines in February and 20,000 more from China soon.

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“Right now, we have conducted a survey in terms of doing the risk analysis about how people might react to vaccines, what is called a Hesitancy Survey. We have the results of that and, based on that, we have developed a Risk Communication Plan [and] just before we start rolling out vaccines we’ll be able to roll that out,” Minister Anthony said.

He added: “While we have this pandemic, we have also had a lot of misinformation that it was peddled throughout the pandemic so it’s absolutely important that we constantly engage the media and update the media about what our plans are.”

There are eight different vaccines being administered around the world. These are Pfizer-BioNTech – which has proven to be 95 per cent effective –, Moderna, Sinopharm-Wuhan, Sinovac, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Sinopharm and Covaxin

The Communication Risk Plan to come is being developed with local resources and jointly with the Johns Hopkins University.

“That plan would be rolled out where we will be able to address many of the concerns that persons would have pertaining to the vaccines that we’re using,” the Health Minister said.

Added to this, the Ministry of Health is expanding 14 sites for the administering of the vaccines which will be ready in the coming weeks.

The Government has also acquired freezers for storage of the vaccines which will be sourced from overseas and locally within the first two weeks of February.

Meanwhile, 35 teams of experienced healthcare workers are being trained to administer the vaccine. It is estimated that at least 7,000 vaccines will be administered per day.

“Our staff has been trained to do all of these things and to make sure that they’re able to deliver the vaccine in the most appropriate manner,” Dr. Anthony said.

Meanwhile, President Ali has also called on the media to ensure that, through its dissemination of information, the “acceptance level” of the vaccine by citizens is high to achieve immunization.



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