Saturday, April 13, 2024

New appointments to extended COVID advisory group

The Government has announced new appointments to the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group and extended the term of the group until December.

The Group was established in March 2021 to provide independent advice on New Zealand’s ongoing COVID-19 response informed by their expertise in epidemiology, infectious diseases, public health and modelling.

“Professor Nikki Turner will replace Sir David Skegg as Chair, following his decision to step down from the Group, and Professor Patricia Priest and Associate Professor Matire Harwood have been appointed as members,” Minister for COVID-19 Response, Ayesha Verrall says. 

Dr Ella Iosua, Professor David Murdoch and Dr Maia Breweton have been reappointed to the Group, while Professor Philip Hill has chosen not to continue for the extended term due to international work commitments.

Professor Turner is a current member of the Group, and is a GP and academic specialising in immunisation, primary healthcare and preventative child health at the University of Auckland. Professor Turner is also the Medical Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre.

Professor Patricia Priest is an infectious disease expert at the University of Otago and was previously a member of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group and is a current member of the COVID-19 Testing Technical Advisory Group.

Associate Professor Harwood is a University of Auckland hauora Māori academic and GP and is also a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Science and Technical Advisory Group.

“I would like to thank Sir David for his stewardship of the Group since its establishment in March 2021, and Professor Hill too for his tireless efforts supporting the COVID-19 response both as part of this group and the COVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group,” said Dr Verrall.

The appointments come as the Group’s terms of reference are updated and its operations are extended until December 2022.

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