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I read in the Village Voice News on Tuesday that Dr. Frank Anthony, the Minister of Health, moaning and groaning that COVAX has reduced their promissory Oxford-AstraZeneca by more than half. Apparently COVAX initially promised to deposit 100,800 doses in PPP begging bowl but at the last moment reduced it to only 24,000. And in true misery loves company mode, Dr. Frank with haste reported that Suriname was also affected. I am still to determine how Suriname’s ill-fortune is relevant in our demise. Now Dr. Frank is left stranded in Timbuktu for want of vex money. Apparently Dr. Frank was never told that beggars should always walk with vex money.
The fact is, COVAX depends on donations from other countries which they distribute to countries that can’t afford to buy their own vaccines. Presently, there is a shortage of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK and the EU with the EU threatening to band exportation of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK and the UK responded by threatening not to provide them with the ingredients to manufacture the fracture. Now the UK is turning to India to manufacture the said vaccine. The net result is when these power house fight over Oxford-AstraZeneca, less will be donated to COVAX. Complicating matters is America’s positive clinical trial data into AstraZeneca, released on Monday. The result is that, AstraZeneca will gain approval in America in the next few weeks and is anticipated that they will be supplied 100M doses. The net result is that it will be less donations to COVAX and less for PPP begging bowl.
The fact is PPP could have purchased the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at $800 per dose and a grand total of less than $2 Billion. Far less than what they have wasted on the dead Sugar Industry. Both Trinidad and Barbados have placed their hands in their pockets to pay for Astra-Zeneca vaccines where Barbados disparaging donating a few hundred doses to us.
Now poor Dr. Anthony was forced to manufacture data on SinoPharm. The fact is that Dr. Anthony and the other three de facto Ministers of Health are clueless. How could he state that SinoPharm has an efficacy of 78% and some other random person with higher numbers? Is that how data is presented? Dr. Anthony that is total hogwash you are talking. Identify the source of those numbers. Share them with WHO-COVAX so that they can assess and approve SinoPharm as a substitute for the short in supply AstraZeneca. The fact is, WHO will laugh at Dr. Frank Anthony and the PPP since approval is evidence- based informed by safety and efficacy. Yes, Dr. Frank Anthony, they will chastise you for not also manufacturing a safety number.
But this is what hurts me. My Guyanese brothers and sisters of all six races will have to face the pandemic unvaccinated. Certainly, PPP has to take the blame this incompetence, for they ran Guyana as if only those in PSC are to be served. Surely, there has never been a stronger case for a Government to resign.
Dr. Mark Devonish MBBS MSc Med. Ed FRCP(Edin) FRCP
Consultant Acute Medicine
Nottingham University Hospital