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President says Harmon is ‘reckless and selfish” over calls to suspend use of Sputnik vaccines

June 17 ,2021

Source

At a midday press conference, Mr. Harmon said the vaccination drive using Sputnik should be suspended until the government provides critical information surrounding the procurement of the vaccine and its safe shipment to Guyana since it was bought through a middle source.

Declaring that the COVID vaccination drive should not be treated as a political issue, President Irfaan Ali this afternoon said the Opposition Leader Joe Harmon is “reckless and selfish” for issuing a call for the use of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine to be suspended.

At a midday press conference, Mr. Harmon said the vaccination drive using Sputnik should be suspended until the government provides critical information surrounding the procurement of the vaccine and its safe shipment to Guyana since it was bought through a middle source.

Speaking to News Source this afternoon, President Ali said his Government would never jeopardize the safety of citizens and he therefore sees the Opposition Leader’s call for the suspension as “reckless”.

“I find it shameful, reckless and selfish of the Opposition Leader to want to dissuade Guyanese from taking the Sputnik vaccine. But this goes beyond selfishness, this is putting the lives of Guyanese at risk”, the President said while reminding that the Opposition Leader has already been fully vaccinated.

An international news report on the sale of the Sputnik vaccine named Guyana as one of the countries that has fallen victim to paying overpriced sums to get the vaccine through a Dubai Sheik. The Sheik was in Guyana last November and held discussions with President Ali.

The President said the vaccines are safe and his government has been sparing no effort to get vaccines for the people of Guyana so that the country can effectively tackle the pandemic.

“The priority of the government was and continues to be to ensure that no effort is spared to have every Guyanese vaccinated. In trying to get these vaccines, we consulted and we tried, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, Sinopharm, we made direct efforts to procure vaccines including diplomatic channels”, President Ali said.

He said his government will continue to administer the vaccine in its efforts to get ahead of the pandemic.

“The first priority is to ensure the safety and health of all Guyanese. It is clear scientifically that vaccines are the only way for us to get ahead of the pandemic and return the country to normalcy”.

The President said some countries are already seeing the consequences of not being able to secure vaccines and more than 70 countries are already using the Sputnik vaccine.

“Covid is not a political game and I want to assure Guyanese that this government is going to continue to work to have every Guyanese vaccinated”, President Ali told News Source.

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Why is  Guyana  actually paying US$24 a dose from  a third party when  WHO recommended US$10 a dose?

On March 20, it was reported, "Guyana got 205,000 doses of Russian vaccines." FROM RUSSIA. On April 30, it was reported again, "Largest shipment of Covid-19 vaccines arrives in Guyana." FROM RUSSIA.

Why is the PPP government  going to a third party  for more Sputnik when Guyana could have dealt directly with Russia?

Why pay more than double the price than what WHO recommended?

@Mitwah posted:

Why is  Guyana  actually paying US$24 a dose from  a third party when  WHO recommended US$10 a dose?

On March 20, it was reported, "Guyana got 205,000 doses of Russian vaccines." FROM RUSSIA. On April 30, it was reported again, "Largest shipment of Covid-19 vaccines arrives in Guyana." FROM RUSSIA.

Why is the PPP government  going to a third party  for more Sputnik when Guyana could have dealt directly with Russia?

Why pay more than double the price than what WHO recommended?

Because the PPP is corrupt and somebody is getting a kickback.

@Totaram posted:

Because the PPP is corrupt and somebody is getting a kickback.

Harmon should keep pushing for answers. Why is the PPP government  going to a third party  for more Sputnik when Guyana  was dealing directly with Russia, and could have dealt directly with Russia?

Pfizer's dose costs US$19.50 each.

Novavax is US$16 a dose.

Moderna costs US$15 a dose.

Johnson and Johnson is US$10 a dose.

AstraZeneca is about US$4 a dose.

The article states ,

Procurement by UNICEF under this agreement is conditional on the product achieving an Emergency Use Listing from WHO, to confirm the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine registered in Guyana

Guyana has become the 33rd country in the world to approve Sputnik V

MOSCOW, February 23. /TASS/. Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine has been registered in Guyana, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement.

"Guyana has become the 33rd country in the world to approve Sputnik V. The vaccine was approved under the emergency use authorization procedure. The vaccine is one of the world's top three coronavirus vaccines in terms of the number of approvals issued by government regulators," the statement said.

"Countries of South America continue to demonstrate strong interest in Sputnik V and today we announce the registration of the vaccine in Guyana. Overall it is now approved in 33 countries making an important contribution to the global fight against the pandemic," CEO of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev commented on the news.

Sputnik V had already been approved earlier in Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Republika Srpska (entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bahrain, Montenegro, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Gabon, San-Marino, Ghana and Kyrgyzstan.

Guyana’s government refuses to suspend Sputnik V vaccine

June 17 ,2021

Source

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s government Thursday refused to suspend use of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine despite opposition warnings that doses could be fake and acquired through third party suppliers at higher than normal prices.

Opposition leader Joseph Harmon demanded a halt to the use of the Russian-made vaccines that he said were acquired from a United Arab Emirates businessman Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum instead of directly from suppliers in Russia.

Harmon said he fears for the authenticity of the vaccines, pointing to international reports linking the the sheikh to a Norwegian businessman and allegedly dubious sales of the vaccines to developing countries.

Harmon also pointed to what he said were fake doses being discovered by authorities in Mexico and Africa. He called for the program to be suspended until a full verification exercise is undertaken to ensure those being administered here are the real thing.

“We demand that these vaccines be put on hold until the population is given an assurance that what we are dealing is not a bogus transaction and that we are dealing with safe arrangement,” Harmon, an attorney, said.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony defended the vaccine acquisitions, saying Russian government officials had pointed him to international contract suppliers of the doses and so far the arrangements with the sheikh have been positive and reliable.

“We have a contract with them and so far they have been delivering,” Anthony said at a briefing. “We are disappointed that the leader of the opposition believes that the price Guyana paid for Sputnik V vaccines is overpriced. Guyana has sought to procure directly from the Russian Sovereign Fund, but with no firm commitments on a delivery schedule, Guyana opted to utilize a supplier. It was a good investment for our people at the time. It remains a good investment at this time."

He argued the statement by the opposition leader could further hamper efforts to beat vaccine hesitancy, noting that not one of 10 administrative regions in the country has seen vaccination rates above 55 percent. In one region just south of the capital, only 14 percent of the population have opted to take jabs.

“At no time did Guyana procure vaccines from any illegal entity or anyone in trouble with legal authorities anywhere," Anthony said. "Guyana has not procured vaccines from any illegal source as far as Mr. Harmon’s claim that the government procured vaccines from any international fraudster. This is blatantly false.”

More than 440 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in Guyana since the first in March of last year.

The Associated Press

Harmon called out for “reckless” claims about ‘fake’ COVID-19 vaccines

Jun 18, 2021 News, Source - https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...e-covid-19-vaccines/

Kaieteur News – Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, was yesterday called out for his claims of possible fake COVID-19 vaccines after he sought to lambaste the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government over their acquisition of doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 in Guyana. He had also urged for a hold to be put on vaccines despite being fully immunised himself.

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/images/2021/06/Harmon.jpgOpposition Leader, Joseph Harmon.

During a live aired press briefing yesterday, Harmon called into question the use of the vaccine on the basis that it was not approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and called for halt in the use of Sputnik V in the public immunisation process. His claims have been called into question by citizens and President, Irfaan Ali, who called him out for his irresponsible and reckless claims.

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/images/2021/06/ALI-1.jpg

President, Irfaan Ali.

At the press conference, the Opposition Leader, among other things, cited articles from Reuters international news agency which reported on a discovery of a fake batch of the vaccines in Mexico earlier this year. In the face of a barrage of questions over the unconfirmed claims that Guyana may have received a fake supply of the vaccines and the fact that he himself has been fully vaccinated with Sputnik V, Harmon remained adamant that the authenticity of the vaccines could not trusted since it was sourced from a middle man supplier in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The PPP has placed the lives of thousands of Guyanese at risk by purchasing vaccine from a middle man at the exorbitant price and kept this a secret from Guyanese people until recently…” Harmon said
Alluding to revelations on the purchase of the vaccines made in the National Assembly earlier, this week, Harmon noted that transaction made to supply Guyana with 200,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines smacks of “corruption and racketeering.”

Harmon emphasised that given that the vaccines were purchased from a UAE supplier, Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al-Maktoum, who has been linked to a convicted fraudster, the authenticity of the goods should be brought into question. Harmon also stressed on the “excessive” $600M expenditure on the vaccines purchased without any approval of the Opposition.

“The matter of the vaccine purchase is now a health safety matter for all citizens, as well as a public health concern. As such, we demand that the Ministry of Health provide us with the batch numbers purchased from this Sheik Al-Maktoum, the details of the shipping, transshipment and all importation documents for the said batches brought into countries where the vaccines were stored,” he told the news conference.

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/images/2021/06/Harmon-Facebook.jpg

Harmon’s Facebook post claiming 200,000 fake vaccines being found in Mexico.

Additionally, Harmon claimed that since Sputnik V has not been approved by WHO and is still awaiting emergency use authorisation, it should not be given the clearance to be used in the country.

“The clearance to use Sputnik V in Guyana comes from authorisation from the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, a unit under the Ministry of Health, which I don’t believe has the capability to approve the usage of such vaccines.”

“As a result and for a matter of safety, the APNU+AFC demands that these vaccines be put on a hold until the population is given assurance that what we are dealing with is not a bogus transaction and that we are dealing with a safe arrangement.”

Further, Harmon quoted extensively from a report in Reuters dated 16 March 2021, which he said bears a striking similarity of what is happening in here in Guyana.

According to Harmon, the article pointed out to an instance where the authorities in Mexico seized a batch of fake doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Quoting directly from Reuters, Harmon noted that “the first shipment of the Sputnik V vaccine – a delivery of 200,000 doses – arrived in Mexico on February 23. It was approved for emergency use by Mexican regulators earlier last month.”

Added to this, the Opposition Leader in a message on his Facebook page calling for a suspension of the use of the vaccine noted that a batch of “200,000 fake Sputnik V vaccines” was discovered in Mexico.

However, Kaieteur News noted that the same Reuters article, published since March, quoted from said that the fake batch Harmon referenced was only 5,775 doses and was seized at Campeche International Airport in Mexico en route by private plane to Honduras almost one month after the authentic 200,000 doses of Sputnik was shipped to Mexico.

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/images/2021/06/Sputnik-Map.png

Sputnik Map: Shaded areas represent the countries that approved Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 or have shown interest in obtaining the vaccine.

Since last year, over 70 countries have approved the use of Sputnik V or have shown interest in obtaining the vaccine for use. Additionally, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on May 27 signed a deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund for the use of Sputnik V vaccines.

Harmon said that unless the PPP can provide assurance that the vaccines are authentic then their use should be suspended. Earlier at the press conference, the Opposition Leader was asked to comment the fact that he himself was administered both doses of the Sputnik V vaccines. He told reporters that at the time he was under the impression that the vaccines were WHO-approved, and that is why he took it. Pressed on the fact that the Ministry of Health had announced that the Sputnik V was approved for use by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, Harmon said that he may have missed that announcement.

“At this point, my only concern is that there are concerns internationally about fake vaccines and what I am looking at right now, is that we get the real thing here in Guyana,” he said.

Asked whether his comments about fake vaccines could be seen as irresponsible and would prompt further vaccine hesitancy by Guyanese, Harmon said that he is not discouraging persons to get vaccinated.

“I stand by my statement…” he responded, “There are issues now casting doubt on the entire process. I repeat that call it is not about all vaccines but the 200,000 vaccines that came from the middle man in the UAE…We need to know that it came directly from Russia.”

Meanwhile, in a public response to Harmon, President, Irfaan Ali, called on Guyanese to disregard what he referred to as the Opposition Leader’s “reckless and irresponsible” claims.

“There are thousands of Guyanese who took the vaccines and there is no realistic link about the fake vaccines. If one is to examine the statement from Mr. Harmon persuading Guyanese not to take the Sputnik V vaccine, you will find it to be self-serving, shamelessly, reckless and against the interest of Guyana and Guyanese,” President Ali said, adding that “This is a man, who himself took the Sputnik V vaccine.”

“How selfless can you be to use a statement to put the lives of Guyanese families and communities at risk?”

The President noted the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines is in keeping with his promise to help the population to flatten the COVID-19 curve and return to normalcy.

“I said months ago, that we will explore every avenue available to us to reduce the COVID-19 curve and return Guyana to normalcy. My position will not change. Every single manufacturer, from every single country, whether it was Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Astra Zeneca, Sputnik V, we tried. We tried countries directly and manufacturers, we continue to try every country for vaccines to protect the lives of Guyanese,” he added. The President said too that the purchase of the vaccine was announced very early.

“It is no secret… I announced early that we were getting the Sputnik V at US$20 per dose because there is no cost in comparison to lives of Guyanese. Let me assure Guyanese that more than 74 countries across the world are using Sputnik…”

President Ali noted too that countries across the globe have been using vaccines available in Guyana prior to the approval from the WHO. “The UK used Astra Zeneca before WHO’s approval. Countries are fighting desperately to get these vaccines; these vaccines are not easily procured. We have tried every single measure and for Mr. Harmon to try to discredit those efforts and for Mr. Harmon to try to dissuade Guyanese at this important public health juncture of our country is reckless and shameful.”

The President said too that “every single shipment of Sputnik V comes with batch number and serial number and before it is administered it has to comply fully with the local regulatory system.”

“I implore every Guyanese not to fall prey to the political selflessness of Harmon and his self-serving interests. Vaccination is an essential part of the struggle to protect you from COVID-19. Please get vaccinated,” Ali said.

@cain posted:

These vaccines are now being tested on the population so for me, y'all could take mine and all the other flu shots I never had.

Eh-eh Cain ...

There are no 'flu shots available way, way waaayyy up in the North Pole where you are currently living.

@Mitwah posted:

Harmon should keep pushing for answers. Why is the PPP government  going to a third party  for more Sputnik when Guyana  was dealing directly with Russia, and could have dealt directly with Russia?

Pfizer's dose costs US$19.50 each.

Novavax is US$16 a dose.

Moderna costs US$15 a dose.

Johnson and Johnson is US$10 a dose.

AstraZeneca is about US$4 a dose.

Mit, do you know where I can purchase these vaccines at these prices for delivery ASAP. Also do you know if it is a minimum volume order of 10k or 10m. Does it include specialized air freight for the dry ice packing. I say if we have a source and access lets all get together and help our brothers and sisters out.   

Sheikh flies in and gets the red carpet treatment. Here to explore business investment opportunities was the reason given for the visit. Months later we hear is vaccine the sheikh selling and his partner was convicted for financial crimes, is wanted in Belgium and is under investigation in Norway for tax fraud.

You couldn't make this shit up

Meanwhile, the shameless apologists busy themselves with strawman arguments in hope this corruption will pass and soon be forgotten

@Mitwah posted:

Thanks Mit. Doesn't actually say the vaccines are available today at these prices. Otherwise I would have recommended you send Rowley this site. Also, maybe there is a way to place orders at these prices for delivery in 2024. As long as we are ok ignoring a higher pile of bodies in the corner.

I guess its like Sony saying the PS5 is $500 but in reality for many people you can only get them from a reseller at a higher price.

Trying to figure this vaccination math out...
The Ministry of Health has been extremely quiet today but there are still lingering questions with regard to the purchase of the Sputnik vaccine. I am still awaiting some answers to questions I posed yesterday.
On Monday, the Minister of Health told the National Assembly that Guyana purchased 400,000 sputnik vaccines, which represents 200,000 first dose and 200,000 2nd dose.
Yesterday the Ministry further explained that Guyana has so far received 305,000 total doses with 95,000 outstanding for the purchase.
Now today, the Ministry's Health Advisor announced that the total number of people fully vaccinated against COVID using Sputnik is 61,000. That simply means 61,000 people receiving both the 1st and 2nd dose. Now, 2nd doses have not been available for the past 3 weeks. So that means, based on the Ministry's figures, it used up all of the 2nd doses, which would be the 61,000 that make up the total vaccinated number.
If we go back to the original statement that 305,000 Sputnik vaccines have been received so far, and we minus the 2nd doses given, it would then mean 61,000 out of the 305,000 vaccines received were 2nd doses and that leaves the total number of first dose vaccines received at 244,000 (305,000 - 61,000 = 244,000)
If according to the Ministry, its purchase of 400,000 represents 200,000 first dose and 200,000 2nd dose, then how did it end up with an extra 44,000 first dose vaccines?
But the figures get trickier because with 244,000 first doses received, that means the total number of 2nd doses that we need to have would be 244,000 also. With only 61,000 2nd doses administered before they ran out of 2nd doses, that means that there are still 183,000 2nd dose vaccines to be received to match the first dose number.
There was clearly some issue with purchases and delivery...its either more first doses were purchased than 2nd doses or more 1st doses were delivered than expected...
The Ministry needs to explain these numbers and also give some additional assurances to the people awaiting the 2nd dose as to when those 2nd doses will eventually arrive.
There are thousands of persons right now on that list for 2nd doses.

Just wondering aloud! What if an African Prince arrived in this country unannounced, is greeted by ministers and is given the keys to the city. The Prince and his eight person delegation spends three days in the country and the official announcement states that the Prince was “Apprised of areas of investment including agriculture, infrastructure, housing, aviation, tourism, oil and gas” – absolutely nothing about the health sector!

Months after this trip, a European investigative newspaper reveals that the Prince was visiting various other third world countries selling drugs. Additionally, at least two members of his delegation were wanted for crimes in other countries.

Coincidentally, what if it was announced that the then Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence, entered into a sole sourced contract to purchase approximately US$9M worth of drugs from the African Prince at twice the usual price on the open market.

Just wondering, whether the current excuse of “the drugs were badly needed, so it matters not the route or cost, it will save lives” would have been made in defense of such a purchase or would the champions of accountability be shouting for an audit plus criminal charges for all involved?? Maybe it’s the continent that makes all the difference. OR……, Is this Animal Farm??

Last edited by Django

I wonder....... if the PPP government was made aware of the opportunity to purchase the Sputnik-V vaccine however it decided not to do so because the vaccine was not approved by WHO (even though it was in use elsewhere) , was not being purchased directly from Russia and the price was too high. I wonder if the opposition would have attacked the PPP for being selfish and not doing what it takes to save Guyanese lives during a pandemic, but instead reserving the money for their own corrupt purposes. Hmmmm……I wonder………..

Lack of transparency is the elephant in the room - yuh dealing with fraudsters so l understand

Suspend parliament for 98 days to do the dirty deed and avoid scrutiny

Subject Minister left to defend a deal he may not have had a hand in

Red herring all over the place from the apologists

lol

APNU's  "Vote for change* went the cry, they won but change never came, they were kicked out.

PPP's "We want transparency" went the cry, well they won.............hmm............I cyan see, something or someone blocking me.............................hmmm....things lil vague..........

This is Guyana at the moment.

Last edited by cain

Gov’t purchases 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines

-Sputnik 2nd doses still unavailable

Source

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony yesterday announced that the government has purchased some 100,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.

This announcement was made during the Minister’s daily COVID-19 update.  “We have purchased from Sinopharm 100,000, doses of the Sinopharm vaccine”, he said.  Sinopharm has been approved by the World Health Organisation. China had donated 20,000 of these vaccines to Guyana early on in the inoculation programme. They were administered to the elderly and health care workers. Two doses have to be applied per person.

Anthony said that the vaccines cost approximately US$15 per dose.

“That approximates to about US$15 per dose and we have to add another maybe US$2 to US$3 for the transportation for the vaccine so that would be the cost of what we are paying for those vaccines”, he noted. It is unclear whether payments for these vaccines have been made already.

Meanwhile,  Anthony went on to say that the 100,000 doses of Sputnik V shots that arrived in the country on Monday are all first doses and added that the ministry continues to work with the supplier to receive second doses.  Sputnik’s first and second doses are different. Sputnik has been described as the “backbone” of the vaccination campaign. Guyana has received just over 300,000 shots out of a total of 800,000 that have been ordered.

Anthony said during the update, “we continue to work with the supplier to see how fast we can get those second doses in.  We have already paid for those second doses but it’s just a matter of getting the supply into Guyana”.

The Minister stated that they hope to get those second doses by the end of the week or early next week even as he reminded that persons who would have received their first dose of Sputnik V have between four to 12 weeks to receive their booster shot.

He added that as of yesterday some 212,541 persons have received first dose vaccines which now accounts for some 43.7% of the country’s adult population.

“As of yesterday we have had 77,980 persons who would have been fully immunized. That represents about 15.6% of our adult population” he added. To this end, he stated that the ministry is continuing work with the ongoing inoculation programme.

However, he said that the programme still lags in Region Ten as it still has the lowest vaccination rate in the country. He said that while there has been marginal improvement as compared to when the programme started, the numbers remain low.

The Minister noted, “First dose vaccination in Region Ten is approximately 12.9% of the population and when you compare that with say Region Six, which has first dose as 51.5% you can see by how much they are lagging”.

He went on to encourage persons to come forward to receive their second dose vaccines. Anthony reiterated that as it relates to the AstraZeneca vaccines, those persons can return anytime between four to twelve weeks after receiving their first dose.

Last edited by Django

61,000 persons fully vaccinated with Sputnik; More than 100,000 awaiting 2nd dose

June 18 ,2021

Source

While the Ministry of Health had initially indicated that it has purchased a total of 400,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccine and has so far received 305,000 doses, it appears as though more first doses might have been purchased than 2nd doses or more first doses were delivered than expected.

In wake of concerns expressed by the Opposition Leader about the Government’s purchase of the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine, the Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy revealed today that a total of 61,000 persons have been fully vaccinated with the Sputnik vaccine.

That simply means that the total number of people receiving both doses stands at 61,000. But there has been no availability of Sputnik 2nd dose vaccines for the past three weeks, which means there are now thousands of people awaiting their 2nd doses.

The Sputnik 1st dose and 2nd dose are not identical.

While the Ministry of Health had initially indicated that it has purchased a total of 400,000 doses of the Sputnik vaccine and has so far received 305,000 doses, it appears as though more first doses might have been purchased than 2nd doses or more first doses were delivered than expected.

The Health Minister on Thursday promised that he would have provided detailed information on the number of vaccines bought and used so far today, but there has been no new information from his office.

The Opposition APNU+AFC continues to call on the government to come clean on the vaccine purchases. The Opposition Leader has called for a suspension of the administration of the Sputnik vaccine until all the information being sought is clarified.

Mr. Harmon made it clear that he is encouraging people to get vaccinated, but he believes the other two vaccines should be used until the information is cleared up about the Sputnik and its purchase through a middle man.

The Government has defended its decision to pay almost double the price for the Sputnik vaccine through the Dubai Sheik.

President Ali has said that there was not much of a choice, since the government needed to get the vaccines.

The Government is unclear when it will be able to get 2nd doses of the Sputnik vaccine although those 2nd doses have already been paid for.

Last edited by Django

Ramsammy to Harmon: No fake vaccines entered Guyana

– 61,000 persons fully vaccinated with Sputnik V

– as GAWU, FITUG bash Harmon for reckless, irresponsible statements

In light of Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon questioning the authenticity and efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine being administered in Guyana, Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy has disclosed that none of the approximately 61,000 persons who are fully vaccinated with the Russian-made jab have contracted the deadly virus.

https://guyanatimesgy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Dr-Leslie-Ramsammy-696x522.jpg

Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy

During a press conference on Thursday, Harmon called for the administering of the Sputnik V vaccine to be suspended based on an article in a Norwegian tabloid newspaper that raised questions on how the vaccines were acquired.

However, the Government including President Dr Irfaan Ali has reassured Guyanese that the Sputnik V jabs that are being administered in Guyana are authentic since the batch number corresponds with the manufacturer’s data.

But even as Government rejects Harmon’s demand to suspend the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy on Friday called out the Opposition Leader over his hypocrisy after he admitted to being fully inoculated with the very vaccine, which he requested.

https://guyanatimesgy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Harmon-641x420.jpg

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon

He also revealed that several other Members of Parliament from the APNU/AFC coalition as well as his own family members took the Russian-made jab, which some of them specifically requested.

According to Ramsammy in a statement, of the more than 227,000 Guyanese who have received their first dose, over 150,000 of them have taken the Sputnik V vaccine with about 61,000 persons being fully vaccinated.

He added too, that while a handful of persons who took the first dose alone have tested positive for COVID-19 – having been infected prior to being vaccinated – not a single person with both doses of the vaccine has contracted the life-threatening virus.

No fake vaccine

Ramsammy further pointed out that all of Guyana’s COVID-19 vaccines have been registered and approved for use here by the Guyana Food and Drug Department, which often depends on Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs), such as the USFDA and the European Medicine Authority. In the absence of approval by an SRA, the Department has also relied on the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Additionally, he said that there are two other mechanisms used to grant approval – one from CARPHA-CRS, which also uses a number of other reference regulatory authorities including the Brazilian Medicine Regulator (AVISA) and the Argentine Regulator. The final mechanism is an independent assessment by the Food and Drug Department itself.

“All the vaccines in use in Guyana have been approved through one or more of the above mechanisms. Every batch of vaccines that are presently used is accompanied by supporting documents, identifying the country of origin, the batch (serial) number, the manufacturer and information about the product. All vials have a bar code that permits tracking directly to factory. No fake COVID-19 vaccine has ever entered Guyana,” the Health Advisor stated.

He further outlined that the Department as well as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) have ensured that all COVID-19 vaccines come from legitimate sources. He further stated that the Health Ministry receives documentation and ensures that the proper import licenses are issued prior to shipment.

“Mr Harmon’s assertion that the Sputnik vaccines are fake vaccines is reckless, absolutely reckless. It is an insult to the hardworking professionals at the Ministry of Health who are responsible for the safe and smooth operation of the vaccine programme, the Food and Drug Department, and those from the Guyana Revenue Authority (the Customs Branch),” the Health Advisor contended.

Efficacy of Sputnik V

Further, Dr Ramsammy, who served as Health Minister in the previous PPP/C Government, also highlighted that not only has no fake Sputnik vaccine been found in Guyana, none have been used anywhere.

“[Harmon’s] assertion about Mexico is another fake story he is trying to gain traction with. There are fake medicines in the world. There might be efforts in Mexico and other countries to get fake vaccines sold. But Mexico did not fall for the trick. Mexico has signed a contract with Russia to bottle and pack Sputnik vaccines. Mexico has bought 34 million doses of Sputnik vaccines. Argentina is also manufacturing Sputnik vaccines,” Dr Ramsammy stated.

In fact, the Health Advisor reiterated that South Korea, Brazil, India and China are also manufacturing Sputnik V vaccines, which scientists have shown are safe and effective with a 97.6 per cent efficacy. Italy will start manufacturing Sputnik vaccines in July.

He pointed to a joint study which was done between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and scientists in Argentina where it was found that the Sputnik V is not only effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19 VIRUS), but also against the P1 (Brazilian) variant.“The so-called Brazilian variant has proven to be a deadlier virus. But Sputnik is effective against this variant. The Argentina-based study… found a strong immune response against the variant in those vaccinated with Sputnik V. Now UNICEF has signed a contract to procure 220 million doses of Sputnik for global distribution. Mr Harmon should be ashamed of himself,” Dr Ramsammy asserted.

Criticisms

Meanwhile, criticisms continue to mount against the Opposition Leader with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) condemning the statement made by the politician.

In a statement on Friday, GAWU said it was deeply disturbed by Harmon’s irresponsible remarks as a senior national leader. It noted that rather than approaching Government with its concerns, the Opposition Leader instead adopted a most flippant approach.

The Union questioned whether Harmon is trying to score cheap political points at the expense of the Guyanese people. It pointed out that the Opposition Leader’s avers that somehow Guyana obtained ingenuine Sputnik vaccines was without any evidence to support this claim.

“In the absence of any tangible evidence, it appears Mr Harmon and company are sounding like empty barrels and really should be ignored. By his statements, the Opposition Leader who belatedly endorsed the COVID-19 vaccination programme, has undoubtedly set back efforts to attain herd immunity in our country. This is simply reckless behaviour on the part of Mr Harmon and his team. It appears to us that the Opposition has become a danger to the well-being of Guyanese at this time when all hands are needed to bring our country out of the pandemic and allow normalcy to prevail,” the Union stated.

Ignore Harmon, get vaccinated

Nevertheless, GAWU called on all Guyanese to ignore the Opposition Leader’s unfounded and careless claims, and to play their part in ensuring Guyana exits the pandemic by getting vaccinated.

On the other hand, FITUG also condemned Harmon’s reckless, irresponsible, and thoughtless statements.

“In our view, the Opposition Leader’s wild statements will only redound to higher vaccine hesitancy among our people. This is neither helpful nor useful in our efforts to exit the pandemic. And, therefore, the Opposition Leader and the wider Opposition must be condemned for what can clearly be described as unwise and deeply upsetting propaganda. The irresponsibleness, once again, demonstrated by the coalition is seemingly characteristic of their behaviour since taking then reigns of the Opposition,” the Federation posited in a missive on Friday.

Pointing to the Opposition’s indecisiveness in encouraging Guyanese to get inoculated against COVID-19, FITUG reminded the coalition that its role comes with high levels of responsibility and the nation, not political self-interest, should come first.

“We know the Guyanese people are not easily deceived and fall for the falsehoods of the Opposition. Certainly, such recklessness should not even be bothered with. We, at this time, urge everyone to receive their vaccines and continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols,” the missive from the Union body detailed.

Ramsammy to Harmon: No fake vaccines entered Guyana

– 61,000 persons fully vaccinated with Sputnik V

– as GAWU, FITUG bash Harmon for reckless, irresponsible statements

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But even as Government rejects Harmon’s demand to suspend the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, Health Advisor Dr Leslie Ramsammy on Friday called out the Opposition Leader over his hypocrisy after he admitted to being fully inoculated with the very vaccine, which he requested.

He also revealed that several other Members of Parliament from the APNU/AFC coalition as well as his own family members took the Russian-made jab, which some of them specifically requested.

According to Ramsammy in a statement, of the more than 227,000 Guyanese who have received their first dose, over 150,000 of them have taken the Sputnik V vaccine with about 61,000 persons being fully vaccinated.

He added too, that while a handful of persons who took the first dose alone have tested positive for COVID-19 – having been infected prior to being vaccinated – not a single person with both doses of the vaccine has contracted the life-threatening virus.

Thanks for posting this article DG.

I was not aware that Harmon and other members of the opposition already took the Sputnik vaccine. Why were opposition members ok with a vaccine that is not approved by WHO and now profess this is now a requirement? Were they not aware of this fact and if this was indeed an important requirement why did they not do their diligence before getting the vaccine. Certainly does not show well on their own competence.

While they are now asking the right questions why did it take them so long after thousands of vaccines have been distributed? Again goes to competence. Unfortunately their naked political opportunism may end up costing lives by encouraging hesitancy.

I started thinking that these guys were waking up out of their slumber. Turns out they are just sleep walking.