NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) yesterday criticized the recently announced National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee as lacking key healthcare stakeholders.
On Sunday, the Office of the Prime Minister revealed the committee members, among whom are well-known public health pioneer Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, Dr Danny Davis of the Ministry of Health, a variety of stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as community and religious leaders.
But the DNA, in a statement, called that those appointments “disappointing”.
“It is disappointing that appointments to the committee [were] not inclusive of key stakeholders within the healthcare industry,” the statement read.
“This shows the lack of respect and regard for Bahamian professionals in general and the local physician community in particular.
“According to the press release, there are no official representatives from the Medical Association, Consultant Physician Staff Association, Doctors’ Union, Nurses’ Union, Pharmaceutical Association and/or the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, among others.
“We understand that key stakeholders in the healthcare sector were informed about the committee at the same time of the press release. This is unacceptable and is a public slight against experts who desire to contribute to the decision-making process.”
The DNA noted the importance of the nation working together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, warning there will be “serious consequences if we don’t get it right”.
“We implore the government to rectify this oversight or ill-advised decision as soon as possible,” it urged.
The other members of the committee are: Ed Fields, director of business development, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd (deputy chair); Stephanie Dean; Carrol Sands, Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agency;
Bishop Delton Fernander, president, Bahamas Christian Council; Archdeacon Keith Cartwright, St Agnes Parish; 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.