by Natasha Smith-Thomas
With the United States (US) and other countries requesting that international travellers be fully immunised before entry, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said Guyana too, will soon set out that mandate for persons wishing to visit here.
He said the National Covid-19 Task force is currently working to change the definition of ‘vaccinated’ in Guyana, to mean fully vaccinated, which will require a person to have both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The task force here, we are considering, because our definition of vaccinated was that if you got one dose of your vaccine and the task force is currently examining, whether or not to implement fully vaccinated or what measures to take, so we will see when those orders come out whether those changes would have been made,” Dr. Anthony said during his daily Covid-19 update on Thursday.
He said ‘fully vaccinated’ is what countries are going to accept. “If you need to travel outside of Guyana, let’s say you are going to the United States from the 8th of November, you have to be fully vaccinated, meaning that you have to get both doses of the vaccine.”
Guyana currently requires that persons entering the country present to the relevant authorities and negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours of travel to Guyana or proof of vaccination with at least one dose of a vaccine.
“If we change our definition in the order, moving from vaccinated being at least one dose, to vaccinated being both doses, then of course that would be a requirement for everybody, but at this point in time no decision has been made by the task force,” Dr. Anthony noted.
Currently, persons are only required to have at least one dose of a vaccine to access public buildings and businesses, however this could change if the definition is changed in the updated gazetted order.
Meanwhile, statistics show that the uptake of second doses in Guyana is not where it should be. Dr. Anthony said 55,000 persons are yet to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccines.
The problem now is that the vaccine will expire at the end of November.
“If they don’t come and by the end of November if these vaccines then expire, then we don’t have any in stock then we have to wait until we get another shipment or we purchase another shipment, and that will be a pity because we have the vaccines and if people don’t come and take it and they expire, then you know we will have to look at other options, and that’s very unfortunate because if you get the vaccine you want to make sure that people use it so that they can protect themselves,” Dr. Anthony said.
Out of the 380,257 or 74.1 per cent of the adult population that have been vaccinated, 241,211 persons who have been fully immunised, representing which is 47 per cent of the adult population.
“When you look at how much persons got their first dose and how much got their second dose, there is a difference of 139,000 people, so there is still a lot of people who need to some back and get their second dose vaccine,” Dr. Anthony said.
The disparity with the first and second dose uptake of the vaccination is not only present in the adult population, but adolescents, with more than 9 000 teenagers still to take the second dose of the vaccine.