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In preparation for the arrival and roll out of the immunization campaign against the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Guyana, the Ministry of Health has established a broad-based National COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force.
In a statement on Friday, the Health Ministry disclosed that the Vaccines Task Force is headed by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony and includes representatives from several departments in the Ministry, the National COVID-19 Task Force, other Government agencies, and the private sector.
In making the appointments, Dr. Anthony explained that a deliberate decision was taken to appoint members who possess specific skill sets, as would be required for any national immunisation programme in general, but more importantly having regard to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular.
“The members are public service professionals who are familiar with immunisation programmes, cold storage operations and medical supply chains, as well as private sector representatives who have been have trained in vaccination campaigns and who understand the expectations, thereby representing a diverse blend of people who have the required expertise and commitment to this national effort in response to COVID-19,” he said.
The other members of the 20-member Task Force include Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy; the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Narine Singh; Director General of Regional Health Services, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo; Director of Primary Health Care Services, Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton and Deputy Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Veronica Griffith.
Director of the Food & Drug Analyst Department, Dr. Marlan Cole; Representative from the Joint Services, Clifton Hicken and PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Luis Codina are among the other members.
Minister Anthony said the Vaccines Task Force has started drafting a training manual on how to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and the procurement process for cold storage facilities and distribution have already begun.
“We want to ensure that we are prepared for the roll out of vaccines, and so they will be looking at our preparedness and working on a vaccine preparedness and roll out plan, then of course, ensuring that all the sites where vaccines will be administered are ready,” said the Minister.
He added: “They will have to ensure that all the elements regarding the use of vaccines will be in place. I would imagine that, from the Vaccines Task Force, we will have several sub-committees that would be carrying out specific tasks.”
The first meeting of the National COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force was held on Friday, January 8, 2021 in the boardroom of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). The members have agreed to convene every Friday to discuss the strategic implementation plan to monitor the roll- out of a safe, effective and efficient Vaccination Programme.