The Ministry of Health has named the members of the broad COVID-19 National Vaccines Task Force to prepare for the arrival and rollout of the immunosuppression campaign against coronavirus disease in Guyana.
Frank Anthony, head of the Vaccines Task Force, and includes representatives from several departments in the Ministry of Health, National Task Force COVID-19, other Government agencies, and the private sector.
In making the appointments, Dr explained. Anthony stated that a deliberate decision was made to appoint members with specific skill sets, as required for any national immunization program in general, but more importantly given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic specifically.
“Members are public service professionals who are familiar with immunization programs, cold storage operations and medical supply chains, as well as private sector representatives who have been trained in vaccination campaigns and who understand the expectations, and thereby representing a diverse mix of people with the required expertise and commitment to this national effort in response to COVID-19, ”he said.
The Chair and members of the COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force are as follows:
- Health Minister – Dr. Frank Anthony (Chair)
- Adviser to the Health Minister – Dr. Leslie Ramsammy
- Chief Medical Officer – Narine Singh
- Director General of Regional Health Services – Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo
- Director of Primary Healthcare Services – Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton (Secretary)
- Deputy Director of Regional Health Services – Dr. Veronica Griffith
- Director of Surveillance Unit – Ms Sasha Walrond
- Director of the Food and Drugs Analyst Department – Dr. Marlan Cole
- Officer in Charge of Health Communication – Ms Shabana Shaw
- Team of Immunologists – services for external access when required
- Joint Services Representative – Mr. Clifton Hicken
- Representative of Guyana Finance Authority – Mr. Lance Wills
- Representative from PAHO / WHO – Dr. Luis Codina
- UNICEF Representative – Mr. Irfan Akhtar
- Cold Chain Technician – Mr. John Ramotar
- Pharmacist – Dr. Karishma Jeeboo
- Private Health Sector Representative – Dr. Malika Mootoo
- Representative from the Attorney General’s Office – Ms Joann Bond
- Representative from the Ministry of Local Government – Ms Prema Roopnarine
Minister Anthony said that the Vaccines Task Force has begun drafting a training manual on how to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and the procurement process for cold storage and distribution facilities has already begun.
“We want to make sure we are ready for the introduction of vaccines, so they will look at our readiness and work on a vaccine readiness and delivery plan, then, of course, making sure all the sites where there are vaccines’ n given already, ”said the Minister.
“They will have to make sure that all the elements of vaccine use are in place. I would imagine, from the Vaccines Task Force, that we would have several sub-committees that would carry out specific tasks, ”added Dr. Anthony.
The first meeting of the COVID-19 National Vaccine Task Force took place today (January 08) in the boardroom of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Members have agreed to convene every Friday to discuss the strategic action plan to monitor the delivery of a safe, effective and efficient Vaccination Program.