GPHC staff involved in giving vaccine to businessman still on the job
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The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine currently being distributed in Guyana
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine currently being distributed in Guyana

– Health Minister says ‘leakage’ a total breach of protocols

By Vishani Ragobeer

THE senior staff member of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) who flouted protocols and allowed a city businessman to receive a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, though vaccines are only currently being distributed to frontline health workers, is still on the job, pending the investigation into the matter.

On Monday, during his daily COVID-19 update with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, emphasised that the “leakage” of the vaccine dose is a “total breach of protocols.”

Additionally, he highlighted that an investigation into the matter has been launched with the aim of uncovering how this breach occurred and how the vaccine administration processes can be strengthened to prevent similar occurrences. The Guyana Chronicle, however, understands that the GPHC member, who has been fingered in the breach of protocols, remains on the job as no decision has been made about what punitive actions will be taken.

Communications Manager of the GPHC, Chelauna Providence also told this newspaper that an investigation is underway, but highlighted that the situation is “complex”. On Sunday, Providence confirmed that a senior member of staff did make the arrangement for this person to get the vaccine without the staff, who had to administer it, knowing that the businessman was not a member of staff.

Previously, this newspaper was told that various heads of department were tasked with collecting the names of staff members who were interested in getting the vaccines meant to immunise against COVID-19. That list was then submitted to the Deputy Head of Medical Services, Dr. Keshant Samaroo, who has oversight for the vaccination rollout at the hospital.

When the health workers go to the vaccination site, they go through a registration and education process. They are given a vaccination card, which is particularly important, since this is a two-dose vaccine and the second dose will be administered at about eight to twelve weeks after the first dose is administered.

Vaccination is not mandatory, but first preference is being given to those frontline health workers who are at a greater risk of contracting the virus. But, it seems as though the system devised at the GPHC was what enabled the senior staff member to include the businessman in the list to receive the first dose of the vaccine.

“Something like this is not what we envisioned would happen… We didn’t really envision that a senior member of staff would go against protocol in such an arrangement,” Providence emphasised on Sunday.

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