Guyana is now expected to receive just 24% of the promised 100,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine through the COVAX initiative, which falls under the World Health Organisation and other international groups.
Initially, Guyana was informed by COVAX that it would be supplying the country with 100,000 doses of the vaccine as a first tranche.
A worried Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony announced today that COVAX has now informed the Government that it will be reducing that promised supply to just over 24,000 doses.
“We were expecting from COVAX to get vaccines. They initially promised us to give Guyana, vaccines for 20% of our population in this year. We received a letter from them a month and a half ago where they promised to send as a first tranche, 100,800 doses of vaccines. They then revised that total that they’ll be sending 33,000 doses of vaccines and today I received another letter saying that within the next three weeks that we can expect 24,000 doses of vaccines. They have not only done this to Guyana, but They have done this to Suriname and some of the other Caribbean countries where they have constantly reduced the amount of the allocation to these countries and that is worrying for us”, the Health Minister said.
Dr. Anthony said plans were already being made to ensure certain segments of the population receive the vaccines, but with the reduction, the Government will now have to continue to look for alternative sources.
“So far, all the vaccines that we have been using are because we have gone to other bilateral arrangements to be able to secure those vaccines for our citizens and so in a lot of cases we have to buy these vaccines”, Dr. Anthony told reporters.
He said the vaccination drive with the vaccines already received from India and China is going well with more than 15,000 persons already vaccinated. Next week, the country is begin to receive vaccines from Russia. Those vaccines are expected to be used to further push the national vaccination drive.
Several small countries have complained about their inability to receive vaccines as the larger and richer countries buy up supplies. In many of those cases, they buy more vaccines than their population might ever be able to use.