Due diligence done in procuring Sputnik V vaccines – Dr Anthony tells Harmon

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In response to a letter from Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon on Friday, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has reassured that all due diligence was followed in the procurement of not just the Sputnik V jabs but all COVID-19 vaccines being administered in Guyana.

See below for Dr Anthony full response letter to Harmon today:

Dear Mr Harmon,

RE: Letter Requesting  Information on Sputnik V Vaccine

Thank you for your letter which we received on June 18, 2021, requesting information on Sputnik V Vaccine.

An exhaustive set of questions were posed to me in the National Assembly on Monday June 14, 2021, by the Opposition’s MPs, at which you were present and even asked a few questions of your own. I patiently answered all questions, especially those relating to the source of Sputnik V procured, the quantity procured, the arrival of the vaccines, and the shipment arrangements, including temperature monitoring.

It should be recalled that the Government of Guyana held a briefing session with all political parties on the 26th April 2021 at the Convention Centre, where your representatives had the opportunity to ask several questions and were provided with all the answers.

I must express my Ministry’s and our Government’s disappointment in your statements, which were done without any evidence, deeming the Sputnik V vaccines used in Guyana as “FAKE”. In doing so, you intentionally encouraged citizens to not take the vaccine and, therefore, put their lives at risk. You publicly demanded the suspension of vaccination with Sputnik V and, therefore, further putting people’s lives in jeopardy.

I urge you to present the evidence that the vaccines are “FAKE”, and if you cannot then you should withdraw your statement and publicly apologize to the Guyanese people.

H.E President Irfaan Ali has publicly responded to you rejecting your demand.  In writing today, I reiterate the President’s response that we will continue to vaccinate people with the vaccines we have available to us at this time. These vaccines include AstraZeneca,  Sputnik V and SinoPharm.

As a reminder, as of June 18, 2021, Guyana has vaccinated 227,070 persons with a first dose, and almost 98,076 persons are fully vaccinated. More than 59,000 of the fully vaccinated persons are vaccinated with Sputnik  V.  Not a single fully vaccinated person was hospitalized for COVID-19, none was in the ICU, and none has died.

Guyana has not imported any vaccine without the requisite registration and approval for emergency use by Guyana’s regulatory agency, which is the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD). The GA-FDD issued a statement to that effect on June 17,  2021 following your irresponsible media conference.

Moreover,  all vaccines imported into Guyana met the requirements of the GA-FDD. On arrival of the vaccines into Guyana, the GA-FDD was informed that the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Unit of the Ministry of Health, verified the manufacturer information, batch numbers and quantities, using the importation document received from the supplier.

All due diligence was conducted prior to procurement of all vaccines. Rigid and continuous monitoring of vaccines storage temperature are in place from manufacturing factory,  throughout transportation to Guyana, during storage in our bonds and at utilization sites.

We urge you to be more responsible and to join us in our pursuit for full vaccination of the adult population in Guyana as early as possible, in order to curb this relentless pandemic.   It is in the interest and welfare of all of our citizens.