Kaieteur News- Guyana has announced a 20-person team to coordinate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. But in typical fashion, the government remains tight-lipped about the names of the persons who are to be involved.
The abject lack of transparency has characterized the PPP/C’s campaign to mitigate the spread of the virus and, now, to immunize the population. It is a recipe for failure.
To date, we keep hearing about the daily number of positive cases – and no, do not be fooled by the decline in reported cases; this has to do with low testing and poor contact tracing. The virus is not going away anytime soon. No less an authority than the President made this clear in his most recent announcement to the nation.
We keep learning about the number of cases and yet it has to take a non-governmental institution to provide a daily breakdown of the total number of daily new cases. There is no daily breakdown of the tests done per region so the respective regional positivity rate can be provided. The regional breakdown of active cases is also being concealed from the public.
A Regional Health Official of Region Six announced that at the start of the New Year, the Region was COVID-free, meaning that there were no reported active cases. Well, if she has those positivity rates, she would not have been so premature in her pronouncement. Because no sooner had she spoken, her Region reported a positive case. And as we know where there is smoke, there is likely to be fire. But she cannot be blamed. She is working in a system which thrives on secrecy.
The PPP/C has been in office for five months and has shown no inclination to be more transparent than the APNU+AFC. Unless that changes, and changes soon, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is going to be a national disaster.
It is almost certain that the government would have been monitoring the problems which has affected the vaccination process in the United Kingdom and the United States. These range from distribution issues, a lack of clarity as to how persons are going to be identified for vaccination, to malicious tampering with the vaccine.
The United States had been expected to administer some 20 million jabs by the end of December. They met only five percent of their target, administering only about one million as at December 31st. It has since increased this to around four million but this is a far cry from the total numbers which have to be vaccinated and so unless the numbers are ratcheted up faster than the infection rates, in the coming days, that country is going to face a most disastrous situation. It already has a staggering death rate with 350,000 dying so far and another 40,000 projected to die this month alone.
Deciding how to rollout the vaccines is also presenting problems. There is ongoing debate between the politicians and the scientific experts in the United Kingdom. The politicians want to give the first dose to as many persons as possible so as to ensure some amount of immunity to as many persons as possible. On the other hand there are persons who are saying that instead of trying to increase the number of persons who are inoculated and then asking them to wait another three months for the second dose, a half does can be given to as many persons as possible to achieve some level of immunity.
Guyana will not have that debate. What will happen in Guyana is what has happened in Florida where there have been long lines of the elderly waiting to be vaccinated. The worst thing that can happen in Guyana would be for the Ministry of Health to be asking persons to line up for a vaccination for an infectious disease. There are going to be problems and the government should be very clear as to just how it will distribute and administer the limited amount of vaccines it will be receiving under the COVAX facility.
It should also be telling the public which vaccines it will be sourcing. At present, India has given emergency authorization for vaccine for which information, including the results of phase three trials of its COVAXIN vaccine. The Opposition Congress Party is questioning the dispensing of protocols, including the assessment of phase three data for the COVAXIN vaccine which has been granted approval by India in what is widely seen as a hurried attempt to begin the mass immunization campaign in that country.
India has the consolation of a great deal of experience in vaccination. It has begun a dry-run of the vaccination process.
Guyana does not have this sort of experience. The public is not even being told when the vaccines will arrive. And this lack of transparency adds to the fear that a chaotic process will result whenever the vaccine gets here.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Jan 21, 2021Kaieteur News – On a slow spin-friendly LBI track, left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie befuddled a Leon Johnson’s XI batting line which raised concerns as they head into next month’s Regional...
Jan 21, 2021
Jan 21, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Kaieteur News – I had many friends among the African-Guyanese race when I was a radical activist in the era of the... more
Kaieteur News – Today, I examine the criticisms that the gas-to-shore (GTS) project lacks transparency. The fact that... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]