Clarity needed on CDC advice about vaccines not approved by WHO – Dr Anthony

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Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says there needs to be clarity as it relates to the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to administer FDA-approved vaccines to persons who have been fully immunised using a vaccine not yet approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The CDC recently announced that “people who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not listed for emergency use by WHO and not authorised by FDA may be offered a complete FDA-authorised COVID-19 vaccine series.” Persons are advised to “wait at least 28 days after the last dose of the non-authorised vaccine before administering an FDA-authorised COVID-19 vaccine.”

Addressing the topic during Monday’s COVID-19 update, the Health Minister explained that from a medical perspective, there needs to be more clarity, noting once a person receives two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, they are fully immunised.

“From a medical perspective, it doesn’t make much sense. If you have been immunised already with two doses of a vaccine, at this point in time, you’re considered to be fully immunised. If having received two doses of a vaccine …We’re going to give that person now two additional doses of vaccine, it doesn’t make sense.”

Minister Anthony also sought to assure that the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, one of three COVID-19 vaccines being used to immunise the country’s adult population, is safe and effective against the disease. Currently, the vaccine is awaiting emergency use authorisation from the WHO but is still being used in 74 countries around the world.

As Guyana and the world continue to battle the pandemic, persons are being encouraged to visit any of the vaccination sites countrywide to receive their dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, 346,526 adults or 67.6 per cent of the adult population has received their first dose, while, 179,115 or 34.9 per cent of adults are fully inoculated.

Some 20,136 adolescents or 28.3 per cent of persons between the ages of 12 and 17 have received the first jab of the Pfizer vaccine. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]