19-member COVID vaccine Task Force appointed, begins drafting training manual

Last Updated on Friday, 8 January 2021, 17:01 by Denis Chabrol

Members of the National COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force during the meeting held at the GPHC Boardroom

The Ministry of Health on Friday named a 19-member broad-based National COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force in preparation for the arrival and roll out of the immunization campaign against the coronavirus disease in Guyana.

Chairing the Task Force is Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony who disclosed that already the body has been tasked with developing 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.

“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,” added Dr. Anthony.

The first meeting of the National COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force was held today (January 08) 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.

The Vaccines Task Force is headed by Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony and includes representatives from several departments in the Ministry of Health, 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 was quoted as saying in a Health Ministry statement.

The Chair and members of the COVID-19 Vaccines Task Force are as follows:

1.  Minister of Health — Dr. Frank Anthony (Chair)

2.  Advisor to the Minister of Health — Dr. Leslie Ramsammy

3.  Chief Medical Officer — Dr. Narine Singh

4.  Director General of Regional Health Services — Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo

5.  Director of Primary Health Care Services — Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton (Secretary)

6.  Deputy Director of Regional Health Services — Dr. Veronica Griffith

7.  Director of Surveillance Unit — Ms. Sasha Walrond

8.  Director of the Food & Drug Analyst Department — Dr. Marlan Cole

9. Officer in Charge of Health Communications — Ms. Shabana Shaw

10.  Team of Immunologists — services to be sourced externally when needed

11. Representative from the Joint Services — Mr. Clifton Hicken

12. Representative from the Guyana Revenue Authority – Mr. Lance Wills

13. Representative from PAHO/WHO — Dr. Luis Codina

14. Representative from UNICEF — Mr. Irfan Akhtar

15. Cold Chain Technician — Mr. John Ramotar

16. Pharmacist — Dr.  Karishma Jeeboo

17. Representative of the Private Health Sector — Dr. Malika Mootoo

18. Representative from the Attorney General’s Office — Ms. Joann Bond

19. Representative from the Ministry of Local Government — Ms. Prema Roopnarine