Police officers maintain order as people wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the San Juan Health Centre, on Wednesday.

Homeland Security and Safe City Operations expert Garvin Heerah is calling on the Government to stop the vaccination drive for 72 hours until a proper plan is developed and communicated.

And that plan he believes should be developed and tested by national experts and not just the Ministry of Health.

“To deal with this scenario people need to humble themselves, step aside and allow experts to take control, it shouldn’t be because of who I am based on a signature that I will get to run this crisis,” Heerah told Guardian Media yesterday.

The former director at the National Operations Centre said sadly he predicted Wednesday’s chaos.

“It bordered to be quite truthful on chaos and in some instances, it was really frightening, Trinidad, our hearts bled yesterday,” Heerah said.

Heerah said Wednesday proved yet again something he has been saying for quite some time – that Government needs to develop a COVID-19 Task Force which would then lead to the formation of a COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre.

He added yesterday’s ‘so-called fix’ to the solution showed that not enough planning and information gathering is taking place.

“It was really an option B that came on the table late yesterday evening, let’s try this, let’s go by alphabetical and by age, come on guys, we can be a lot more professional than this.”

And the professionals he believes should come from outside the Government sector.

Heerah said the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has expertise in evacuating entire cities and should have been consulted. Heerah also questioned if the Defence Force was approached for assistance.

“This is what we do, the military, this is how we run things and therefore I’m saying come on, bring the military on board let them work with it, there are retirees and subject matter experts.”

Heerah said outside of the box thinkers are also needed for projects like these.

“Nobody, nobody manages mega logistics and planning smoother than our fete promoters and our band leaders.”

He said these experts would have done community impact assessments and dry runs to test the system beforehand.

Heerah is therefore advising the Health Ministry to hold up on vaccinations for now until a proper plan is put in place and more importantly, communicated to the public.

“Halt the operations for at least 72 hours and within that time, put something structured in place that is system driven and process related so we can utilize a more efficient plan with all the players on board.”

Heerah said while this may hold back the Government’s initial vaccination plan, a proper system may encourage those on the fence about vaccinations to take the jab.