Dec 12, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – A National Vaccine Task Force is being established under the Ministry of Health to lead the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. This was revealed by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony in his Wednesday COVID-19 update where he stated that the team will be very “diverse” to ensure efficiency in the task force.
This diverse team he said will consist of persons from both the private and public sectors. Representatives from the Health Ministry, government agencies, private sector officials and even persons from the university and joint services will make up the task force, according to Anthony.
“It would have persons who are familiar with immunization and vaccine programmes, persons who we have trained but are in the private sector, who understand about cold storage and how to maintain refrigeration and things like that; they are going to be part of it. What we have is a blend of people who have the expertise,” he said.
The Health Ministry is also working to get expert immunologists and they have developed a vaccine preparedness plan.
Notably, countries like the United Kingdom (UK) would have developed a National Vaccine Task Force since April and have seen impressive results in their functioning to date.
The UK’s task force was established by the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Patrick Vallance, to accelerate and co-ordinate efforts to ensure the country’s population has access to a clinically safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. The task force also sought to roll out a long term vaccine strategy that will prepare them for pandemics beyond COVID-19. The country also diversified their task force by having business, scientific, industrial and civil service experts, which gave promising results.
This was also contended by the UK’s Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, who recently said, “The Taskforce’s impressive record has only been possible by bringing together business, science, industry expertise and the civil service to ensure the British public gets access to a safe and effective vaccine as soon as possible. Our country owes every single person involved in this national effort a huge debt of gratitude.”
He also shared that the task force also enabled the UK to be the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech for their COVID-19 vaccine and they have managed to secure more doses per head of population than almost any other country. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved worldwide after it was approved for emergency use in the UK last week.
They also constructed a vaccine manufacturing base from scratch to strengthen the country’s ability to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics.
The UK government already started the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week and they boasted that the results have been remarkable.
Guyana is set to receive the very Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility which is made up of organizations like the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance and their main goal is to ensure there is equal roll out of COVID-19 vaccines by helping lower-income countries acquire vaccines for at least 20 percent of their population. This publication previously reported that through COVAX, Guyana will first receive vaccines for 3% of the population and another 17% will be acquired later.
It was also reported that the ministry is looking at frontline workers, the elderly and persons with comorbidities as potential candidates who will receive first preference for the vaccine.
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