THE first meeting of Guyana’s Vaccination Task Force is slated for today, according to Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony.
Minister Anthony, during Thursday’s edition of the COVID-19 update, said that the meeting will allow the members to be introduced to each other, and there will be a number of presentations that will enable the vaccination task force to update the National COVID-19 Task Force on where Guyana is with procuring vaccines and deploying those vaccines.
It was reported, recently, that a 20-person team of professionals, drawn from both the public and private sectors, will be spearheading the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, which are expected to arrive here in the coming weeks.
Dr. Anthony had said that a number of persons were contacted and asked to lend their expertise to a team that would be responsible for the importation, storage, management and distribution of the vaccines.
“It’s a large group of people and the idea is that for specific areas dealing with vaccination and so forth, we’ll have subgroups that would work on these things,” the Health Minister said.
In addition to these persons who will be serving on this vaccination team or task force, the minister also highlighted that Guyana has been receiving assistance from professionals overseas who are experts in immunology.
These international experts, who have been providing consultancy services to Guyana, are drawn from the Mayo Clinic medical facilities in Florida and from Harvard University. The experts at Harvard have been working specifically with the local surveillance team and looking at the dynamics of the disease.
“We have a number of experts who have been giving us support, but to be full time with us (on the vaccination task force), that would be a challenge,” Dr. Anthony related, but emphasised: “We can draw down on that expertise though.”
The first set of vaccines Guyana will be receiving will be through the COVAX facility; those vaccines will be free and the first three per cent will be used for the frontline health workers and the next tranche, about 17 per cent, will be used for older persons and persons with higher risks, such as those with co-morbidities
Meanwhile, recent statistics show that 33 new persons have been infected with the virus, taking the total number of cases since March 2020, to 6,449.
These new cases were recorded in Region One (three cases); Region Two (three cases); Region Three (one case); Region Four (12 cases); Region Five (one case); Region Six (three cases); Region Seven (one case) and Region Eight (nine cases).
There are currently 320 active cases drawn from the five persons in the COVID Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 20 in institutional isolation, eight in institutional quarantine and 287 in home isolation. Seven persons have recovered from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.