Guyana has received 146,250 doses of the US made Pfizer vaccine from the United States Government for the immunisation of children 12 to 17 years old. The vaccines arrived on board a FedEx Express flight at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Tuesday afternoon.
While delivering brief remarks at CJIA, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, relayed the gratitude of His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali to the US Government, calling the donation a life saving measure.
“While we were able to work with our adult population, what was missing was really working with our children. With the evolution of the virus, we have seen that the new variant, which is now called the Delta variant has been very detrimental to children. Since this pandemic started here on the 11th of March 2020, to the present time, we have had more than 4000 children, male and female under the ages of 18 who were infected with the Coronavirus. So, this represents a real threat to our children.
“While with the original variant, they might have had mild forms of the infection, with the Delta variant, as we have seen in other countries, you can have a very severe form of the infection happening in children, and if they are hospitalised, we also unfortunately are seeing deaths among children,” Minister Anthony noted.
He reiterated that the vaccines came at a critical time.
“It comes against the backdrop where over the last couple of days, we have seen an increase in cases. Today we actually recorded, over the last 24 hours, 146 cases, and so, we are seeing new cases. And we therefore need to urgently, if we are going to beat back the Delta variant, we need to urgently get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, MP, who was also at the airport said if parents in particular are committed to the vaccination process, then schools could reopen.
“This will allow us to resume some level of normalcy that is needed…Today we are very grateful to the United States Government and people for this donation, it is one that will help us to vaccinate all of our over 12 students which will amount to 98 per cent of the secondary population in Guyana.” Minister Manickchand said.
Before the weekend, the vaccination campaign to immunise children 12 to 17 years old will be officially launched.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S Embassy in Georgetown, Mark Cullinane said the donation to Guyana is in keeping with the United States’ efforts to maintain solidarity with the people of Guyana.
Guyana’s Pfizer vaccine donation is part of a larger donation of 5.5 million doses to CARICOM.