“ANY DAY NOW”: Bahamas will continue to issue first and second doses while awaiting vaccine balance arrival

“ANY DAY NOW”: Bahamas will continue to issue first and second doses while awaiting vaccine balance arrival
A shipment of more than 33,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrives in The Bahamas via the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization COVAX Facility on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Co-Chair Ed Fields said yesterday The Bahamas is expected to receive the balance of its vaccine doses, approximately 66,000, from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX Facility “any day now”.

He said the committee will continue to issue first doses to eligible individuals as well as second doses to vaccine recipients.

Fields acknowledged that with the full tranche of AstraZeneca vaccine doses in hand, including the more than 53,000 doses received to date, the committee will cap first doses at the 60,000 mark.

National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Co-Chair Ed Fields.

“So, we expect another 33,000 doses literally any day now — as early as tomorrow,” he said.

“And so, we are able to now be more flexible with giving out first doses.

“Obviously the demand will determine how we manage that.

“I want the folks who are out there to know that we are literally monitoring this day-by-day based on the demand for first doses and, of course, making sure that second-dose folks all have doses available for them.

“So, that’s how we’re going to have to manage it.

“I couldn’t sit here right now and say we’re going to stop it (administering first doses) on this day or we’re going to stop in on that day.

“We have to look to see how the demand is happening on a daily basis.”

The committee has administered over 36,000 doses of the vaccine.

This includes some second doses, which began being administered yesterday.

When Fields spoke to the media around 1.30pm, he noted that the total figure was higher than the 36,000 reported on Sunday, though he could not provide an exact number.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis receives his second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Kendal GL Isaacs National Gymnasium on Monday, May 10, 2021. (BIS PHOTO)

AstraZeneca is a two-dose vaccine.

Health officials previously said sufficient doses will be reserved to ensure vaccine recipients of the first jab will be able to receive their second dose.

It remains unclear whether, barring the delivery of additional doses this month, there remains sufficient doses to provide all vaccine recipients with their second dose.

Yesterday, Fields said the government will receive a total of 120,000 doses of the vaccine and it is expected that full complement of doses will be received before the end of this month.

“In addition to the 33,000, by the end of May we will be getting some more doses that will take us to the full 120,000 — that’s 20,000 from Serum and 100,000 from COVAX,” he said.

“So, that now tells us we are able to get up to 60,000 (first doses).

“And that doesn’t even account for the fact that we are continually working on getting more supply from other sources in addition to that 120,000.

“You have to kind of understand the position we’re in; we don’t have a surplus supply sitting around to say we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. We literally have to manage it day-to-day, demand and supply.”

Any Bahamian or resident over the age of 18 is eligible to receive the vaccine.

Appointments opened on Sunday for vaccine recipients to receive their second dose, though at least seven weeks must have elapsed between the two doses.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.