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Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Guyana – 10,000 persons to benefit



#Guyana, March 22, 2021 – Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Frank Anthony says the arrival of the 20,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, Tuesday evening, is significant as Guyana moves to roll out a comprehensive COVID-19 immunisation campaign aimed at developing herd immunity.

The Minister said the 20,000 doses would see approximately 10,000 persons being vaccinated.  

“You can rest assured that we will start very early to start getting these vaccines into people’s lives because we strongly believe that that’s where it should be. That is what is going to help them to build immunity and to fight against COVID-19,” he said.

The Minister made this statement following the signing of the Acceptance Certificate of Vaccines at a simple ceremony held at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Dr. Anthony expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government and People of Guyana to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the generous and timely donation.

Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy in Guyana, Mr. Chen Xilai said the donation reflects his country’s commitment to lending support to Guyana.

“I hope these vaccines will be used on the most needed people and help Guyana in the fight against the COVID and the recovery of the economy,” he said.

The vaccines arrived at the CJIA onboard a Caribbean Airlines flight from Canada.  Guyana is the first country in the Caribbean to have received a donation of COVID-19 vaccine from China.

Vaccine safety

In response to a query about the safety and effectiveness of the Sinopharm vaccine, Dr. Anthony said that scientific studies have shown that it has a low number of side effects. Further, the manufacturer of the vaccine is one of the largest producers and distributors of vaccines globally.

“On an annual basis, Sinopharm probably makes more than a billion vaccines and they have been supplying vaccines globally. So, they’re not a new kid on the block when it comes to vaccines, they’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said.

The Sinopharm vaccine has shown a 79.4 per cent effective rate in some clinical trials while in others, the rate is higher. The Minister said it is “a very effective vaccine” and compares favourably to the other Covid vaccines on the market such as the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

“From all that we’ve seen, all the scientific data that we’ve seen, the side effects for this vaccine is very minimal. And therefore, there should be absolutely no reason why people don’t take the vaccine,” he said.

The vaccine is also currently being considered by the World Health Organization for emergency approval. Minister Anthony also noted that the COVAX facility, which only accepts vaccines of the highest standards, will be receiving 11 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China.

Adding to the Minister’s comments, the Chinese Charge d’Affaires gave assurances that the Government of China is serious about vaccination development and conducted scientific research over a long period of time. He said the Sinopharm vaccine has been put through three phases of trials in numerous countries and “the quality of the vaccine is guaranteed.”

Additionally, he said the vaccine has been administered to over 40 million Chinese nationals, including high ranking government officials.

Minister Anthony appealed to the public to take the vaccine once the opportunity arises. The elderly and people with comorbidities are next in line to receive the vaccine. Once the Ministry has sourced sufficient quantities, teachers would be next in line to benefit, in keeping with the Government’s efforts to safely reopen schools.

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Caribbean News

CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”



Port of Spain, Trinidad. 01 December, 2023: It is with profound sadness and shock that I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends, people of Dominica, the Caribbean Community and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on the untimely passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Etienne.

Dr. Etienne’s contributions to public health in the Americas were not only significant, but also transformative.  Her leadership and unwavering commitment to our Caribbean Community’s collective pursuit of healthier people, healthier spaces and a healthier Caribbean were a source of inspiration to many.  Dr. Etienne was a tireless advocate for The Americas’ regional solidarity, for she knew that was the only way to address the glaring inequalities that exist here.

She was the Director at PAHO for most of the life of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and under her leadership, CARPHA graduated from the PAHO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) arrangement to having framework agreements.

PAHO funded many of the programmes that are difficult to attract support, like the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) and the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), which are important services for the Region to ensure the quality of medicines.  Under Dr. Etienne’s leadership, PAHO also funded non-communicable disease interventions, another area that does not attract large pots of funding, although the number one cause of deaths in the Caribbean region. 

During the Pandemic, CARPHA worked with PAHO to fund the downpayments to give 12 Member States access to COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to the tune of US$2.6 million.

Dr. Etienne will be remembered as a true Caribbean lady who worked with great dedication and focus throughout the horrible COVID-19 period and right up to her last working day at PAHO.

During this challenging time, we pray that God will give strength to Dr. Etienne’s family, friends, and colleagues.  CARPHA cherishes the memories of her remarkable contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the Americas, but especially the Caribbean.

The CARPHA Executive Management and staff stand in solidarity with our Caribbean Community as we mourn the loss of a visionary leader. 


Dr. Joy St. John

Executive Director, CARPHA

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Caribbean News

CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).


In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”


The priorities stated under the agenda are:


  1. Curbing emissions to limit global temperature

increase to 1.5 ̊C


  1. Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and

loss and damage


  1. Improving access to and delivery of climate finance

for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach


  1. Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience


  1. Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,

sustainable and resilient development


  1. Promoting gender equity and social inclusion

approaches to climate action


  1. Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as

core to the climate response


  1. Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered

approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice


The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.


Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.


“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”


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Bahamas News

CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence



Rashaed Esson


Staff Writer 


“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.


She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.


Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.


“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.


“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”


The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.


She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.


For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average. 


In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.”  Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.


Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”

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