CPSA questions lack of representation on national vaccine committee

CPSA questions lack of representation on national vaccine committee
Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) President Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) President Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler has expressed concern that there are not enough physicians represented on the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Pinder-Butler noted that they are still hopeful the matter will be remedied, given the intent of the committee is to form subcommittees.

“I would have imagined that with the healthcare person being an at-risk group in the first instance and then also being responsible for the care of so many other at-risk persons, that we would have certainly been better represented at the committee level,” she said.

Pinder-Butler underscored the necessity to have a wide and very active engagement when it comes to matters that impact not just the physicians and the healthcare workers, but the country at large.

“We hoped that the ministry [would] reach out to the CPSA formally, which has not happened, and that we would have been a little bit more intimately involved with some of the committees and the recommendations so that we can also properly engage our members, allow all of us to be updated with the education that’s available related to the vaccine so that we would all be informed appropriately when the time comes of the rollout,” she continued.

“…We want to do it in partnership to make sure that it is effective. Anything that is going to benefit ourselves, our countrymen, we want it to be rolled out appropriately, especially when our government has invested significant funds with just trying to obtain the vaccine.”

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has named the members of the newly formed committee, which includes stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as community and religious leaders.

Specific subcommittees made up of additional members of the public and private sectors will also be formed to provide for wider consultation and support where needed, the OPM said.

The committee was formed to advise the prime minister and the Ministry of Health on the development of the strategy, policies and activities related to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

The committee will also review and guide the vaccine implementation schedules developed by the Ministry of Health’s technical team, as part of the monthly reports required for submission to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Members of the committee include:

  • Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, special health advisor to the prime minister (chair);
  • Ed Fields, director of business development, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd (deputy chair);
  • Stephanie Dean, RN (Ret.);
  • Carrol Sands, Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agency;
  • Bishop Delton Fernander, president, Bahamas Christian Council;
  • Archdeacon Keith Cartwright, St Agnes Parish;
  • Danny Davis, PhD, Ministry of Health;
  • Dr Marcela Elliott-Ferguson, PhD, University of The Bahamas;
  • Viana Gardiner, COO, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Office of the Prime Minister; and
  • Erica Wells-Cox, director of communications, Office of the Prime Minister.