GEORGETOWN, 10 May 2021 – Guyana today received 38,400 COVID-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 globally. Representatives, to receive the COVAX vaccine were Hon. Hugh Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Malcolm Watkins, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Luis Codina, PAHO/WHO Representative, Guyana, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. David Anderson, Deputy British High Commissioner, and other representatives from the Canadian and US Embassies.
This second delivery from the COVAX Facility adds to the first shipment of 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, received on 29 March. According to the first round of COVAX allocations, Guyana is expected to continue receiving doses until it reaches 100,800, the amount specified by COVAX. Guyana is one of ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are receiving vaccines at no cost through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
PAHO's Revolving Fund, which is responsible for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the countries of the Americas under the COVAX Facility, shipped 38,400 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea. The vaccines arrived today at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown.
This new shipment of COVID-19 vaccines will strengthen Guyana's National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, which is open to all eligible adults - 18 years and up. Guyana has so far vaccinated over 32% of the adult population with the aim of achieving herd immunity by the end of 2021.
"Guyana is happy to receive these 38,400 doses; this would complement the 24,000 doses received thus far through the COVAX mechanism. The Government of Guyana would like to thank COVAX, which is made up of CEPI, GAVI, WHO, the UN system and all the donor countries especially the United States for assisting the low and middle income countries to get access to vaccines. This is a step in the right direction as we work to end the COVID-19 pandemic globally," said Mr. Malcolm Watkins on behalf of Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health of Guyana.
Dr. Luis Codina, PAHO/WHO Representative in Guyana said, "We are very pleased to receive the second shipment for the country; we are expecting 40,000 doses at the end of this month or early next month. COVAX is a platform aimed to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country like Guyana. The country now has three COVID-19 vaccines available, for the population to access to keep them safe and protected."
Close to 136.4 million people have been immunized in the Americas, but only 24.2% of these are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Support is given to countries in vital areas including procurement of medications and supplies, oxygen management strategies, deployment of rapid tests to improve surveillance and response, and expansion of hospital capacity. To date, over 11.6 million doses of COVAX vaccines have been delivered and are being deployed.
Until vaccination is widespread among the population, basic public health measures remain the basis of the pandemic response. For public health authorities, this means continuing diagnostic testing, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine, and quality care. And for individuals, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, the use of masks, adequate ventilation of indoor environments, and avoidance of crowded spaces.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. The Advance Market Commitment is funded through the generosity of governments, private sector, philanthropic and multilateral partners, See the AMC donor table for a complete list of pledges.