Govt considering using cruise lines to transport Bahamians to Florida to receive COVID vaccines
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday that the country is currently in two pandemics: one for vaccinated individuals and another for the non-vaccinated.
Minnis made the comments after new coronavirus cases climbed to the triple digits over the weekend and as hospitalizations continue to rapidly rise.
Speaking to the matter on the sidelines of the Investiture ceremony for the Queen’s New Year and Birthday Honours 2020, the prime minister acknowledged the rise in cases, noting that it is concerning.
“One thing the Bahamian populace must understand — we are in two pandemics,” he said.
“The vaccinated individuals are now out of the pandemic. The pandemic is finished for the vaccinated.
The non-vaccinated are still in the pandemic. Therefore, it is essential for us to aggressively pursue vaccines so that we can vaccinate our populace as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can move into the vaccinated portion, thus the non-pandemic.”
Minnis said the government is utilizing all of its resources to secure additional vaccines, and that it is considering using cruise lines to help get more Bahamians vaccinated.
He noted some 120 residents from Bimini traveled to Florida on the Balearia for free to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We are in discussions with other cruise lines to see whether it is possible we can to move thousands of our people, at the expense of the government, to be vaccinated, because we feel that life is much more important than money,” he said.
This comes as the country continues to await the delivery of an additional 33,000 doses of AstraZeneca and some 57,330 doses of the Pfizer vaccine through the COVAX facility.
The US is also slated to donate a tranche of AstraZeneca doses from its surplus, though quantity and dates have yet to be announced.