Guyana orders US$4 million worth of Russian COVID-19 vaccines

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 March 2021, 6:45 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali on Friday announced that Guyana would be buying US$4 million (GYD$800 million) worth of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia to roll out a massive inoculation exercise from next week Wednesday.

He said 200,000 doses of the Russian vaccine would be arriving in Guyana next week, and another 24,000 doses through the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access (COVAX) mechanism.

“We have established a supply chain, we have established the storage facility. We had meetings with the private sector because we have to bring all the storage capacity together to get this done,” he added.

The Health Ministry has already said that from next Wednesday, persons 40 years and older would be eligible to receive the jab.  Government hopes to vaccinate 10,000 persons daily.

The President restated that the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) Medical Brigade and medical students would be trained to document would-be vaccine recipients in collaboration with local government bodies such as Amerindian village and neighbourhood councils.

Dr. Ali said while Guyanese are being vaccinated, the Task Force would be enforcing the measures such as social distancing and the wearing of masks. “This next four weeks is a very critical four weeks for us in ensuring that we stick to the guidelines while we push ahead with the vaccination. So, the Task Force will be working simultaneously with the vaccination programme to have strong enforcement, but we are sparing no effort and we are sparing no resource in getting the vaccines here,”,” he said.

Government would also be buying a second batch of 200,000 Sputnik V doses, with the aim of vaccinating the majority of Guyanese to achieve herd immunity.

Guyana’s resort to Russia comes at a time when India has imposed a temporary export ban on AstraZeneca vaccines because it needs as much of the drug to vaccinate millions of Indians at home who are still reeling from the virus.