GOALPOST: Bahamas aiming to vaccinate 80 percent of population to achieve herd immunity against COVID

GOALPOST: Bahamas aiming to vaccinate 80 percent of population to achieve herd immunity against COVID
(FILE PHOTO)

Atlantis and Baha Mar resort to serve as vaccination sites

Vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers still a concern as “more non-healthcare workers are being vaccinated”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government is aiming to have 80 percent of Bahamians and residents vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan.

As she gave an update on the current situation of cases and vaccinations in the country, McMillan urged Bahamians to continue to follow mitigation protocols and opt to get vaccinated.

Dr Pearl McMillan. (BIS PHOTO/PATRICK HANNA)

“Things that can wait should wait,” she said.

“Vaccinations have started, but until we get the critical number of about 80 percent of Bahamians vaccinated, the only way to slow the spread of this virus remains to avoid close contact with people, wearing masks and sanitizing.”

The CMO noted that “the intent is for us to move in the direction to vaccinate enough persons for herd immunity and that would be around 80 percent”.

Just over 10,000 people have been vaccinated in The Bahamas to date.

McMillan noted that approximately 60 percent of vaccine recipients have been ages 60 and older, and more women than men have been inoculated.

“More non-healthcare workers are being vaccinated when compared to healthcare workers,” she said.

“In early 2021, the Ministry of Health conducted a vaccination hesitancy survey among healthcare workers.

“The results were similar to this real-world experience and though they are not surprising, the ministry hopes that healthcare workers will sign up and show up for COVID-19 vaccinations.”

The CMO added that healthcare workers must continue to lead the charge on these important healthcare matters.

As of April 4, there were 69 individuals, or less than one percent, who reported one or more side effects after being vaccinated, including fatigue, nausea, headache, fever, chills and muscle pain.

This graph shows the frequency of side effects in vaccinated individuals in The Bahamas.

Symptoms of a flu-like illness can be expected and are generally resolved within a few days, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO).

“All of the events analyzed were classified as non-serious and mild,” McMillan said.

“…In this period, there has been no report of any case of anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). There have been no reports involving post-vaccination hospitalization or deaths.”

Vaccinations resumed yesterday after the Easter holidays at Loyola Hall and Church of God, East Street, on New Providence, and at the Susan J Wallace Community Centre on Grand Bahama.

Additional vaccination sites will open on New Providence this week, including the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium and the Atlantis and Baha Mar resorts, which will be used exclusively for hospitality workers.

Currently, vaccinations are open to healthcare workers; individuals 60 years of age and older; staff of uniformed branches; teachers and staff of schools; homebound, physically challenged residents; and students and athletes studying or competing abroad.

Hospitality workers include hotel and resort employees, public transportation workers, Lynden Pindling International Airport workers, Nassau Airport Development Company workers, Nassau Cruise Port workers, straw market vendors, port and beach vendors and tour operators.

A valid work ID indicating proof of occupation and/or proof of age is required at the vaccination centers.

In a letter to its employees, Atlantis advised that it will have two inoculation sites on the property, including the Prince of Wales and Crown Ballrooms in the Beach Tower.

“While not mandatory for Atlantis employees to be vaccinated, we encourage our team members to participate in inoculation as it will provide another layer of protection against this deadly virus,” the letter read.

“The global effort to vaccinate all will support The Bahamas and our tourism industry in regaining a level of normalcy.”