African Union Making Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Available To CARICOM

(CMC) – The African Union has allocated 1.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana’s Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, announced on Monday.

Regional countries have complained of their inability to secure vaccines from producing countries because those nations have not made their products commercially available and in many instances the governments have sought to use their vaccines to vaccinate their populations from the virus that has been blamed for killing millions of people.

Speaking in a radio interview, Anthony said that Guyana is expected to receive 150,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by mid-June.

He said Guyana has already made a down payment on its allocation for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a one-shot jab and has an efficacy rate of more than 70 per cent.

The health minister said that the vaccines will be rolled out as part of the government’s nationwide vaccination drive and that communities in the outlying regions that are difficult to reach will be targeted with the Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine.

Guyana health authorities say that so far, more than 198,000 people have received a first shot of one of the COVID-19 vaccines and more than 60,000 persons have received both shots.

Anthony said the second dose of the Russian-made Sputnik vaccine will arrive this week to continue the immunisation of persons who have already received a first shot.

He also said those who have received a first shot of the Astrazeneca vaccine can access their second shot once it has been four weeks since that first shot.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Public Health announced that three persons have died from the virus taking the total number of deaths recorded since March 11 last year to 385 while 86 deaths have been recorded in the month of May.

The latest fatalities, according to the Ministry of Health, are a male and two females ranging in ages from 58 to 71 years.

In addition to the new deaths recorded, 88 new people were infected with COVID-19 over a 24-hour period, pushing the total to 16,910.

The authorities said that there are also 23 people in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are also 103 people in institutional isolation, 1,996 are in home isolation, and five in institutional quarantine.