NASSAU, BAHAMAS — COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Member Dr Danny Davis yesterday said he believes the nation can boost its vaccination numbers with a greater focus on teenagers and young adults.
This comes as relatively low vaccination coverage persists in many Caribbean countries, including The Bahamas, nearly a year after doses began being administered in the region.
Of those eligible to take the vaccine in The Bahamas, 12 and above, there is approximately 50 percent vaccine coverage, Davis said.
That rate sits at around 31 percent among those 12 through 17, however.
As you proceed through the vaccination, it gets harder to convert the last set of persons.
– Dr Danny Davis
The committee plans to implement vaccine initiatives in schools, but the program has not yet become active.
Davis said efforts are underway to advance the program, which is expected to boost numbers.
As it relates to other age groups, the committee member said: “I would like to think out of that 50 percent that remains — that 160,000 persons or so — that we, in fact, are able to get a lot more of them, be it through education [or] be it through incentives.
“I would like to think that not all of them are diametrically opposed.”
The reason for sluggishness of vaccine uptake, despite a significant increase in capacity since the involvement of the private sector, has been difficult to pinpoint.
Some experts have suggested continued vaccine hesitancy is largely among those who are diametrically opposed to the jab, while others have asserted the coverage gap is the result of insufficient educational campaigns that present the data and science to that grouping.
The Bahamas began administering COVID vaccines in March 2021.
To date, more than 160,000 people have been fully vaccinated, of which 7,000-plus were vaccinated abroad.
Well over 325,000 doses have been administered, including extended and booster shots.
The more persons who are vaccinated, the better off we are as a country.
– Dr Danny Davis
While figures on extended and boosters shots do not contribute to the total number of vaccinated people, these remain critical measures of protection amid COVID variants.
“I think one of the things we have to always try to do is we have to always see how do we try something else,” Davis said.
“We try ‘A’, we try ‘B’, we try ‘C’ because ultimately, we know that the more persons who are vaccinated, the better off we are as a country.
“It’s just a matter of trying things and seeing what works.
“We have not seen a magic bullet, and of course, as you proceed through the vaccination, it gets harder to convert the last set of persons.
“Obviously, [there were] individuals who were eager to get this vaccine when we started, and we saw steady increases, thousands of shots per week.”
Out of the 13 countries and territories in the Americas that have not yet reached the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2021 goal of 40 percent vaccination coverage, 10 are in the Caribbean, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne yesterday said interventions must be tailored to the needs of those who remain vulnerable in each country.
You people need to stop forcing the citizens to take this experiment drug. I’m sick of this ridiculous notion that the Caribbean government is putting on us as colored people. This is our body and we should not be coerce or force to take anything that we as a people are not comfortable with. It is quit clear now with all of the scientific data out there on this so called vaccine that it neither prevent or stop the spread of the COVID 19, we are now in the the age of information it’s not a vaccine this is why they are called it a JAB. Think Bahamas think!