42% of adult population fully immunised against Covid; 90% now needed to achieve herd immunity

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Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, said while Guyana’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been making significant progress; however, the country still has a far way to go to achieve herd immunity which experts now say has moved up to 90 percent.

During today’s COVID-19 update, the health minister explained that with the Delta variant of the Coronavirus circulating, experts say countries would need to have at least 90 per cent of their population immunised against Covid-19. Herd immunity was earlier pitched at 80 percent.

“We’re still a far way off because depending on what variant we are dealing with, the percentage of the population that needs to be immunised would go up…. We have to work to make sure that as much people as possible can be immunised.”

The World health Organisation’s (WHO) website defines herd immunity as the “indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or cases and immunity developed through previous infection.”

Currently, 71 per cent of the country’s adult population has received the first dose of a Covid vaccine while 42 per cent is fully inoculated. Additionally, since the roll-vg out of the vaccination campaign for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, 34.8 per cent of individuals in that age range has received the first shot of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine with 19.1 per cent fully vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony explained that while the ministry continues the vaccination campaign, one of the hurdles in achieving herd immunity is that there is no Covid-19 vaccine yet approved for children under the age of 12.

“We are hopeful that in November that the US FDA would approve for vaccines that can be used in this age category, at least from 5 to 11 and when that is done, we’ll then be able to introduce vaccines to this age cohort,” he said.

Guyana rolled out its vaccination campaign last March using three types of COVID-19 vaccine – AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sputnik V. Minister Anthony continues to assure citizens that the vaccines are safe and effective in protecting against the deadly disease.

Persons are encouraged to visit any of the vaccination sites to receive their jabs.