Govt secures 150,000 vaccines; negotiations for more ongoing

Govt secures 150,000 vaccines; negotiations for more ongoing

The Bahamas showing maturity in seven of nine indicators for vaccine readiness

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has secured enough coronavirus vaccines for 150,000 people to date, according to Minister of Health Renward Wells.

During his contribution to debate on a resolution to extend the state of emergency and emergency order to May 23, Wells explained that the government continues to explore multiple ways to secure vaccines.

Minister of Health Renward Wells. (BIS PHOTO/KEMUEL STUBBS)

“We have a commitment of somewhere in the area of enough vaccines for 150,000 persons — between the African Union, 75,000 people, and the World Health Organization (WHO), 80,000 individuals,” Wells said.

“Right now, if we keep pursuing the course that we are on to be able to provide vaccines for 150,000 persons…we would have done our due diligence as a government to ensure we have placed ourselves in an optimal position to be able to receive those vaccines with a vaccine plan through the Ministry of Health.”

The Bahamas is a part of the COVAX Facility convened by Gavi, CEPI and the WHO, which will afford countries in the region the best opportunity to fast-track access to COVID-19 vaccines.

A down payment of $250,000 has already been paid for the first 80,000 doses of whatever vaccine is chosen by the WHO — to begin distribution by March.

Wells noted that the Pan American Health Organization has established a COVID-19 Vaccine Introduction Readiness Tool (VIRAT) Dashboard for monitoring member state progress with preparedness to receive vaccinations from the COVAX facility.

“I am pleased to advise that The Bahamas’ readiness is reflecting the majority seven of nine progress indicators in the maturity stages and the remaining two completed,” the health minister touted.

“These indicators inform timing of access of countries to the in-country delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“That is to say, The Bahamas is well on its way to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine very soon.”

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.