January 8, 2022 | Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
The new acting chairman of the National Health Fund (NHF) Mr. Shane Dalling has reported that three senior employees have been suspended and interdicted on suspicion of negligence or incompetence as it relates to an alleged act of sabotage at one of the storage plants housing 900,000 doses of crucial vaccine vials.
It is reported that a wire was cut to one of the storage refrigerators which houses a large amount of vaccines. It is further reported that the exposure lasted for some 15 hours. Senior staff who are connected to the system remotely that would inform them that there was a malfunction or an emergency did not respond as expected. To further compound the problem … the standby or back up power supply did not trip in. The police have been called in to investigate the breach. The three staff members implicated in the breach have been suspended and interdicted. There was no intrusion and it is widely believed to be an inside job. A closed circuit network is in place and security guards are on location guarding the storage units. How did this breach then occur?
An independent Audit firm has been called in to do an independent Audit of all the systems associated with the storage arrangements and administration. The mishap occurred on or about December 24, 2021.
You may recall that most recently the long standing chairman of the very sensitive National Health Fund (NHF) Mr. Howard Mitchell had resigned amid a cloud of controversy swirling around his departure. Mr. Mitchell, a retired attorney, well known private and public sector leader said he had informed the government that his tenure as chairman was for a set period. When he resigned it was felt that there was an unfortunate misunderstanding. We may never hear the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth. Are we off base here?
It is more than criminal if in fact there was an actual sabotage of the vaccination programme in Jamaica, as is being alleged by the acting chairman. To date Jamaica has just vaccinated about 30 percent of its population estimated at 2.9 million. If this sabotage is factual, then this would be most unfortunate to say the least. We hope justice will be served. Are anti vaxxers at work as is being alleged by Acting Chairman Shane Dalling, an attorney at law? Time will tell. This breach could result in losses amounting to billions of dollars.
This is a very sad development indeed.
The WHO has said that most of the vaccines should be good. The refrigerator was closed for that down time and temperature drop would be minimal.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a poet, elegist, author and senior international journalist who writes for Vision newspaper.