The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, led by the Honourable Minister, Sir Molwyn Joseph officially launched the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) on Tuesday 5th January 2021 with the assistance of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas.
The NTWG was established after the COVAX facility through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) requested that member countries do so to ensure that the public is provided with independent, evidence-informed advice on issues related to Covid-19 immunization and vaccination.
The group will be responsible for reviewing the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and other regional and international public health agencies recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines and advise the Ministry on which COVID-19 vaccine should be used in Antigua and Barbuda based on the evidence and information collected.
They will also be responsible for reviewing the data and information from COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, advise the (MOHWE) on priority groups to be vaccinated based on the evidence and information collected and update the advice given as new information becomes available.
Health Minister, Sir Molwyn Joseph says “The ministry has assembled a group of our brightest minds in Antigua and Barbuda.” Notwithstanding, the recommendations from the international agencies such as PAHO, the minister is of the view that “we should rely on our local experts to advise the Cabinet on the best policy option.”
This policy, he says will ensure a safe and efficacious vaccine for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Committee will comprise of Dr. Lester Simon as Chairman and Dr. Courtney Lewis – Deputy Chairman. Dr. Jason Belizaire, Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, Ms. Margaret Smith, Mr. Alfred Athill, Dr. George Mansoor, Dr. Shivon Belle Jarvis, Dr. Linroy Christian, Dianne Lalla-Rodriques are also a part of the Committee.
In addition, there will be a representative from the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Social Transformation, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Antigua and Barbuda Medical Association, Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association, Antigua and Barbuda Pharmaceutical Association/Society and the media.