Many Guyanese, who are recipients of the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, have complained about movement restrictions to the United States of America. Sputnik V has not been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) nor the U.S. Food and Drug Department, therefore, disallowing recipients of the jab entry.
In other parts of the world, people who took Sputnik V and wish to travel to the U.S. have taken other vaccines approved by the country and WHO as booster shots in order to gain access. Asked if Guyana would adopt similar workarounds, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali said that he will rely on the advice of the local Health Ministry before greenlighting such a move.
“The Ministry of Health and its technical people would have to advise on the mixing of vaccines…This would be like a booster shot. If you say, hypothetically, that persons with Sputnik V can take any of the other vaccines as a booster, that is something that has to be technically approved and approved by the medical professionals and I’m guided by what advice I get from the medical professionals in relation to this. First and foremost is the safety and health and wellbeing of the people,” he said.
Earlier this year, controversy erupted over Guyana’s procurement of 200,000 Sputnik V doses from Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al-Maktoum of Dubai. The main Political Opposition here, the A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) cast doubt on the authenticity of the jabs after an article appeared in the Norwegian media claiming that the Sheik was involved in a shady arrangement with a convict to acquire the vaccines.
The Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon requested that the authenticity of the jabs be confirmed by Sputnik V’s manufacturers. Weeks later, Alexander Christyakov, the Director-General of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the sovereign wealth fund that backed Sputnik V, said that the vaccines were in fact, genuine. Harmon went on to question the authenticity of Christyakov as RDIF’s Director-General.
According to the RDIF, not only has Sputnik V been approved in over “70 countries where over four billion people, or over half of the world’s population, live, but its efficacy and safety have been confirmed both during clinical trials and over the course of real-world use in a number of countries.”