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300,000 COVID-19 vaccines expected; virus hotspots in Kitty, Diamond- Health Minister

Last Updated on Friday, 19 March 2021, 19:29 by Denis Chabrol

As Guyana’s vaccination exercise continues apace, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony on Friday said surveillance teams have identified COVID-19 clusters in Kitty, Georgetown and Diamond, East Bank Demerara.

In his latest weekday briefing on the virus in Guyana, he said the increased number of cases, now totaling 420, is from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).

“In Region Four, in the area of Diamond, we have seen a number of cases in Diamond, a cluster of cases in Diamond,  and we have also seen a cluster of cases in Kitty so these are two areas that we are monitoring because of these clusters that we have identified,” he said.

Dr. Anthony said COVID-19 surveillance teams were also paying attention to Region Three (Essequibo Islands/ West Demerara) where a few positive cases have been detected.

Latest figures released by the Ministry of Health show that 212 new cases were detected on Thursday due to increased testing and on Friday, 44 more positive cases were identified.

The Health Minister said when positive cases are identified they are isolated to reduce contact with other persons.

He said so far 15,524 persons have  been tested vaccinated countrywide and so “I think it’s going well I think more and more people are coming out” although “we need people of influence in Linden to advocate for the vaccine”.

Currently, persons 60 years and older were being vaccinated and, according to the Health Minister, soon persons 50 years and older would be invited to take the jab that prevents people from falling seriously ill from the virus.

Against the background of lingering fears in Europe about blood clotting among a tiny percentage of recipients, the Health Minister restated that so far in Guyana there has been “no extreme adverse reaction” but there have been “general side effects” such as headache, fatigue, pain, chills and fever that go away within 24 hours.

Dr. Anthony said Guyana is set to receive the first 5,000 doses of Sputnik vaccines from Russia once the logistics have been finalised. He said Guyana has ordered 200,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccine from Russia, with the first 50,000 doses expected in two weeks.

The Health Minister said 100,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines are expected under the global COVAX acquisition and distribution mechanism. “We want to immunise a substantial part of our population this year and if we are going to do so, we have to source vaccines,” he added.

Guyana has so far received AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines from India and China, as well as donations from Barbados.