The Government of Guyana, this morning, received 83,000 doses of the Russian manufactured Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
The shipment arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport this morning.
The Government has bought some 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to the tune of $4 billion. Some 24,000 doses were sent through the COVAX mechanism – the first tranche from 100,800 shots. The Government of China and India also donated 20,000 and 80,000 vaccines while Barbados sent 3000.
The Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, uses two different viruses that cause the common cold (adenovirus) in humans. The adenoviruses are weakened so they cannot replicate in humans and cannot cause disease. They are also modified so that the vaccine delivers a code for making the coronavirus spike protein. This aims to ensure that when the real virus tries to infect the body, it can mount an immune response in the form of antibodies.
Sputnik uses a different vector for each of the two shots in a course of vaccination. This provides immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The two shots are given 21 days apart.
Sputnik V is to be stored at -18°C in its liquid form. However, in its freeze-dried form, it can be stored at 2-8°C, in a conventional refrigerator without any need to invest in additional cold-chain infrastructure. Sputnik V is approved for use in over 55 countries with a total population of over 1.5 billion people, according to RDIF. It has proposed to price the vaccine at less than US$10 per shot.
On Thursday, Government announced the widened eligibility requirement for COVID-19 vaccination that allows for persons 18 years and older to get immunised. Guyana commenced its vaccination exercise in February and to date, more than 70,000 persons have received the first of two doses.
As the vaccination rollout continues with almost 100 permanent sites in the 10 regions along with temporary sites in some areas, outreaches are being conducted in communities on a daily basis.