Guyana wants CDC clarification regarding vaccine use
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC)— Guyana Monday said that it needed further clarification from the United States-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so as to administer Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccines to people who have been fully immunised using a vaccine not yet approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, speaking at his daily COVID-19) update, told reporters there needs to be clarity as it relates to the recommendation from the CDC to administer FDA-approved vaccines.
The CDC recently announced that “people who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not listed for emergency use by WHO and not authorised by FDA may be offered a complete FDA-authorised COVID-19 vaccine series”.
It said people are advised to “wait at least 28 days after the last dose of the non-authorised vaccine before administering an FDA-authorised COVID-19 vaccine.”
But Dr Anthony said that from a medical perspective, there needs to be more clarity, noting once a person receives two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, they are deemed to be fully immunised.
“From a medical perspective, it doesn’t make much sense. If you have been immunised already with two doses of a vaccine, at this point in time, you’re considered to be fully immunised. If having received two doses of a vaccine,” Dr Anthony said, adding “we are going to give that person now two additional doses of vaccine, it doesn’t make sense”.
The Health Minister also sought to assure that the Russian made Sputnik V vaccine, one of three COVID-19 vaccines being used to immunise the country’s adult population, is safe and effective against the disease.
Currently, the vaccine is awaiting emergency use authorisation from the WHO but is still being used in 74 countries around the world.
To date, 346,526 adults or 67.6 per cent of the adult population here have received their first dose, while, 179,115 or 34.9 per cent of adults are fully inoculated.
The health authorities said that an estimated 20,136 adolescents or 28.3 per cent of persons between the ages of 12 and 17 have received the first jab of the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr Anthony said that he was also worried about the “community transmission” and that hinterland regions need to start conducting more COVID-19 testing in order to track the infection.
He said the low number of positive cases in some regions are due to limited testing and as such it is difficult to have an accurate report on the situation in those regions.
“In every region we have a number of cases but that varies because some regions are not testing, as much as they should.
“So, for example, In Region One, Region Six, Region Five, Region Seven, Region Eight, Region Nine and 10, they can do much more testing but they’re not testing as much and therefore, we might see that the numbers in those regions are artificially low. So, it’s an underestimate of what is currently happening in those regions,” Dr Anthony said.
Dr Anthony said there were current hotspots in Region One and Region Two and that these regions are not doing enough testing.
“In Region Three, we have seen a rapid increase in cases over the last week and now we have 65 cases in Tuschen, we have 45 cases in Parfaite Harmonie, we have 36 cases in Pouderoyen, Santa mission we have 35 cases and CI we have 33 cases,” the Health Minister said, adding that there has also been a rise in positive cases in Region Four, especially on the East Bank Demerara.
“In Region Four on the East Bank, at Diamond there’s 110 cases, at Grove there’s 91 cases, in Eccles we have 55 cases, Soesdyke 41, Timehri 39, Herstelling 38. There are other places on the East Bank where we have cases.”
The Health Minister said in the capital, Georgetown, there are cases in every ward and that the “ones that stand out would be Kitty at 84, Sophia with 75 cases, South Ruimveldt with 48 cases, Lodge with 43 cases, Campbellville 41, West Ruimveldt 41, Cummings Lodge 39 and again there can be more testing that can be done in these areas”.