The Government has spent over $2.2 billion to date on COVID-19 vaccines for the nation. This was disclosed by the Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony during the 30th Sitting of the National Assembly of the 12th Parliament.
The disclosure was made in a written response to a question posed by Opposition MP, Dr. Karen Cummings.
“The Government of Guyana has spent approximately $2.2 billion Guyana on vaccine purchase and logistics of getting the vaccines to Guyana,” Dr. Anthony said in his response.
The Government, through the Ministry of Health, has procured enough vaccines for the adult population and is now working with its partners to get vaccines for children, he said in the document.
“The Ministry of Health has procured enough vaccines for all persons 18 years and over who live in Guyana. The Ministry is currently securing vaccines for persons between the ages of 12 to 18 years.”
While the Government did not purchase the AstraZeneca vaccines, he said, it procured the Sputnik V, Sinopharm, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines to ensure that every adult had access to a vaccine as quickly as possible. The AstraZeneca doses were donated by the Governments of Barbados, India, the United Kingdom and acquired through the COVAX mechanism.
“Agreement with COVAX was for 20 percent of our population. COVAX had difficulty fulfilling this commitment because of a global shortage and funding difficulties.
“So far, that quota is not fulfilled.… Also, poorer countries are having difficulties getting access to vaccines et cetera. In this context, the Government of Guyana decided to buy vaccines so that every adult can be vaccinated expeditiously to reach herd immunity.”
Dr. Anthony, in response to another question on COVID-19 deaths and vaccine pharmacovigilance, said there have been no deaths in Guyana due to COVID-19 vaccination. He said the Ministry has a pharmacovigilance committee that monitors for rare adverse events.
That Committee, he noted, is obligated to report any adverse findings to regional and international pharmacovigilance bodies. To date, over half of Guyana’s adult population, that is 252,978 or 52 percent, have taken their first COVID-19 vaccine. While 141,628 or 29 percent are now fully vaccinated against the disease.