Guyana has received 34,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and a large portion of that allotment will be sent to remote parts of the hinterland, says Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony.
During his update today, the Minister said: “Because of the characteristics of the vaccine, it can easily be stored between two to eight degrees Celsius. It makes it much easier to work with, especially in hard-to-reach communities. So, we’re going to send those vaccines out to those hard-to-reach communities across the hinterland. I think that is going to be able to reach a lot of people and expand the [vaccination] coverage.”
He added that the single-dose vaccine will also alleviate the pressure being placed on health authorities to locate persons to administer double doses of a vaccine.
“When we give a first dose [to a person] in one of these remote communities, getting back in the community [and] finding that person to give them the second dose – because people move – it is a challenge. So, by giving this single-dose vaccine, at least we know that people would be protected. So, our strategy is to use the J&J vaccine mostly for those remote communities that we’ll have difficulty accessing,” Dr. Anthony said.
Guyana was able to access J&J vaccines through a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) initiative brokered with the African Union. Guyana is among eleven countries to tap into the 400 million doses offered by the union. Jamaica, Barbados, St Kitts, and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago are also on the list of countries to receive jabs.
In April this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the use of (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine in the United States.
Meanwhile, Guyana is expected to receive a shipment of Pfizer vaccines this afternoon. These jabs will be set aside for children between the ages of 12 and 18. The Ministry will be making these jabs available to children who will be returning to school next month.