Guyana’s Ministry of Health has asked citizens not to fuel speculation into the cause of death of a teenager, who passed away after receiving his final dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on Monday (October 4).
The ministry, in a statement via its official Facebook page, confirmed the 13-year-old male was a native of Kamwatta, an Amerindian village located in the Barima-Waini region of northwestern Guyana.
According to the ministry, the child accepted his second Pfizer jab around 2:00 pm, showing no adverse reaction after the brief 20-minute observation period.
“The child received his second dose of Pfizer vaccine at 2.00 pm today. He had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks ago without any adverse effect. After receiving his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today (Monday), he was observed for an uneventful twenty minutes and showed no reaction to the vaccine. He was then allowed to proceed home,” the health ministry stated.
“Two hours after returning home, he felt faint and was taken to the Kumaka Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival,” the ministry added.
In the wake of the boy’s death, the ministry indicated that a senior team, including pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh, is scheduled to travel to Moruca tomorrow to determine the cause of death.
“A post mortem will be conducted by the team, and the circumstances leading to the child’s death will be determined. We urge citizens not to indulge in speculation and await the results of the post mortem and other related investigations,” the ministry explained.
The statement, continuing, noted that while it extends condolences amid the untimely loss, “the Ministry of Health and teams from Georgetown and Region One stand ready to provide all support to the family and the community of Kamwatta”.
The teen’s death has fanned the flames of vaccine hesitancy in Guyana, as many citizens call on the Frank Anthony-led health ministry to publicly disclose the findings of the autopsy.
“Would the public be able to access the true information of cause of death?” Antia Mandhar questioned under the ministry’s statement, adding “I highly doubt that. People are not stupid any more (sic).”
Just last Thursday, the ministry warned Guyanese against spreading unsubstantiated claims that a child had died immediately after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
At the time, Guyana administered the Pfizer vaccine to over 25,000 adolescents, and according to the ministry, there had “been no death or any serious illness”.