Ambassador Lynch delivers remarks at COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Workshop

Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Workshop  
February 28, 2022

Honorable Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health
Dr. Lauren Bankcroft, Health Promotion Unit, Ministry of Health
Nicolas Pron, UNICEF Representative to Guyana and Suriname
Ministry of Health colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen
Members of the media

Good morning

It is my pleasure to be here with you today, as we continue our partnership to combat vaccine hesitancy.

The United States Government has been and will continue to be a resolute partner to the Government and people of Guyana in their COVID-19 response.

The United States has donated

  • nearly 300,000 Pfizer vaccine doses, including doses through the COVAX system.
  • 10 vaccination tents to strengthen the mobile vaccination drives across the country and ensure equity in vaccine distribution.
  • freezers to ensure the storage and guarantee the integrity of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • personal protective equipment to regional hospitals in Mabaruma, New Amsterdam, Lethem, Linden, and the Georgetown Public Hospital to protect health workers in carrying out their duties.
  • Nearly $1 million U.S. dollars in direct funding for COVID-19, in addition to regional funds that benefit Guyana. In total, the United States Government has donated over $7 million U.S. dollars in COVID-19 funding to-date for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

Our aim is to provide assistance that will enhance the Government of Guyana’s response to this public health crisis.

In partnership with the Ministry of Health, and working through USAID, UNICEF, we are accelerating efforts to address this new phase of the pandemic – addressing vaccine hesitancy.

We have held virtual sessions for healthcare workers in regions 3 and 10, provided information booths at fixed and mobile vaccination sites, and created local culturally appropriate messages and other content.

Through the Peace Corps, we have been engaging with communities in regions with the lowest vaccination coverage to create spaces for community members to share concerns, ask questions, and receive clear answers to questions.

We have also conducted sip, paint, and gyaff sessions with teachers to share COVID-19 vaccine information, address questions, and provide psychosocial support.

Most recently, the team held such an event at Watooka Day Primary in region 10, where 72 percent of those not vaccinated indicated that they would get the jab.

This is great news, and testimony to the efficacy of these campaigns.

This workshop here today, is another way in which we are addressing vaccine hesitancy, through the collaboration of UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and support from the United States Agency for International Development.

I take this opportunity to commend both agencies on this initiative.

We understand that addressing vaccine concerns is not only the work of the Ministry of Health, for it is only through collaborative multi sectoral efforts that we can achieve success.

I am reminded of the Guyanese proverb, “One, one dutty build dam,” (every bit adds up) and note that this activity is one of the many that will contribute towards recovery from COVID-19.

I wish the Ministry of Health and UNICEF the very best in this workshop and the other workshops which will be held across the country.

Thank you.