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– frontline workers to benefit first
DPI – Approximately 52,000 persons could benefit from the first quota of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 that the Government has secured through the COVAX facility, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony has disclosed on Tuesday.
“About 52,ooo persons could be vaccinated from the vaccines that we are getting from COVAX … Our deployment plans for vaccines, first of all, we want to give to the frontline workers. We had calculated that to be close to 22,000 people. The rest of persons who would fit into this first category are the elderly and persons with co-morbidities,” Minister Anthony said.
On Monday, he disclosed that COVAX plans to deliver some 104,000 doses of the vaccine to Guyana soon.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is administered in two doses per person meaning the expected amount would be for about 52,000 people. The second dose is said to be essential as it triggers the necessary immune system response to act as a super booster against the virus.
Minister Anthony also sought to dispel concerns about the efficacy of the vaccine.
“AstraZeneca, when they did two full doses, they were able to see that the vaccine was about 66 per cent efficacious. But when a half dose is followed up by a full dose, the efficacy went up to about 90 per cent.
So, these dosing regiments can make a difference, that is why in the literature they are saying that these vaccines efficacy can range from 62 or 66 per cent to as much as 90 per cent, depending on the dosing that you are using,” he said.
AstraZeneca is currently awaiting emergency use approval in the United States. It has already been approved in the United Kingdom, Europe and India.
“We are also making other arrangements to be able to acquire more vaccines. We are working on those arrangements right now,” Dr. Anthony said.
On Saturday, during an address to the nation President Irfaan Ali, said the Government was having productive discussions with the Governments of India, China and Russia.
He disclosed that China has already pledged 20,000 doses of vaccines for Guyana. Discussions are underway to finalise that agreement.
President Ali also said Guyana is working along with CARICOM, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union to secure additional vaccines for the country.