Guyana: The Governments of Guyana and Brazil, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and UNICEF, today launched the 22nd Vaccination Week in the Americans simultaneously in the municipality of Bonfim, in the state of Roraima, Brazil.
This year, Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) is being observed under the theme: “Are You Fully Vaccinated”? This week’s observance also marks the 11th anniversary of Global Vaccination Week.
Attending the cross-border event at Fazenda Buritizal Grosso were several dignitaries from both countries, including Dr Vishwa Mahadeo, Director General of the Ministry of Health and Member of Parliament; Ambassador Forbes July, Director of the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana; Bryan Allicock, Regional Chairman, Region Nine; John Macedo, Mayor of Lethem, Guyana; Dr Hiran Gonsalves, Congressman of Brazil; Dr Edson Castro Neto, Joint Secretary of Health in the State of Roraima; Jones Chagas, Mayor of Bonfim, Brazil; Dr Luis Felipe Codina, PAHO Representative in Guyana; Dr Socorro Grosso, PAHO Representative to Brazil; Irfan Akhtar- UNICEF Representative Guyana / Suriname and Ana Spiassi, UNICEF Representative to Brazil.
Thanking the efforts of the health care workers, Dr Mahadeo highlighted that Guyana and Brazil have always managed to maintain high rates of vaccination when compared to other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. He emphasised that much success of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme belongs to those in the arena who strived valiantly and gave great enthusiasm and dedication regardless of the challenges.
“Vaccinating the population takes hard work; it takes dedication; it takes sleepless nights; it takes taking off your shoe and walking in the mud; it also takes being ill-treated (by members of the public), and yet they (health care workers) persist,” he said.
The Director-General also boasted about the Government’s integrated approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, one that ensured adequate stocks of vaccines across the country.
“The Government of Guyana aggressively pursued and continues to pursue a strategy to vaccinate as many Guyanese as would be necessary to achieve herd immunity whilst at the same time ensuring that all Guyanese have access to free vaccines,” he said.
In closing, Dr Mahadeo reminded those present that the act of being vaccinated isn’t just a personal responsibility; it is also a moral responsibility to one’s community and the world at large.
Meanwhile, the Joint Secretary of Health in the State of Roraima said that the Government of Brazil would continue to work to strengthen its public health care system to ensure vaccines are distributed proportionally across the states in Brazil.
“We believe in a fully vaccinated population. No one is safe unless everyone is safe; that is why we have to strengthen our system to have quality public health,” Neto said.
As in prior years, multiple VWA launching events and celebrations of different magnitude are being organised in the various regions of Guyana. These events include regional launches, outreach activities, and a school essay competition.
Also present at today’s launch were Dr Ertenisa Hamilton, Director of Family and Primary Health Care Services; Dr Cerdell Mc Watt, Regional Health Officer, Region Nine; Dr Oneka Scott, Maternal Children Health Officer; Malkia Idal, Principal Assistant Secretary (Finance), Michael Gouveia, Hinterland Coordinator, Regional Health Services and Family and Community Health Specialist, PAHO/WHO Guyana – Dr Janice Woolford.