INEVITABLE: Minnis says not “if” but “when” Delta variant arrives in country; urges Bahamians to get the jab

INEVITABLE: Minnis says not “if” but “when” Delta variant arrives in country; urges Bahamians to get the jab
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis wraps up debate on the 2021/2022 budget in the House of Assembly on Monday, June 21, 2021. (BIS PHOTO/YONTALAY BOWE)

54,199 people in Bahamas have received one dose of vaccine; 25,047 people fully vaccinated

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While it remains unclear whether The Bahamas has confirmed the presence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the country, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday it is not a matter of if the variant will arrive, but when.

The Bahamas is awaiting analysis of samples sent abroad to determine which variants exist in the country.

During his presentation to the 2021/2022 budget debate, Minnis underscored the threat of the Delta variant, which is spreading rapidly in several countries.

There are now concerns the variant could become the dominant strain across the globe.

The prime minister once again encouraged all eligible Bahamians and residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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)

Minnis said while The Bahamas is making good progress with its national COVID-19 vaccination program, “more people need to be vaccinated” for the country to return to a greater sense of normalcy sooner.

A total of 79,246 doses of the vaccine have been administered throughout The Bahamas as of June 19.

Some 54,199 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 25,047 people have received both doses and are fully vaccinated.

Additionally, 2,682 Bahamian citizens and residents have been vaccinated in the United States with either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The prime minister said Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout in the Family Islands, which includes the administration of first and second doses, started last week on Abaco and continued throughout the other islands yesterday.

Once fully vaccinated, individuals will be given a digital Vaccination Pass allowing them to display their vaccination status via phones and other devices.

Businesses and government agencies will also be able to verify Bahamians’ vaccination status using the government’s vaccination checker website.

The module would allow for the scanning of the QR code on the digital vax pass to verify the details and indicate whether the pass is invalid.

While Bahamians who choose to get vaccinated abroad will not receive a Vaccination Pass, they will be able to register online, giving the government a better grasp of how many Bahamians have been vaccinated.

The digital record will minimize fraud, moves away from paper usage and eliminates having to replace lost and damaged yellow immunization cards.

Minnis also announced “party on” for fully vaccinated individuals as he outlined that people who are fully vaccinated can now engage in private and social gatherings in their homes and elsewhere once all attendees have been vaccinated.

Hosts of wedding receptions, private gatherings and other social events will be responsible for verifying that guests are fully vaccinated and will be subjected to fines for non-compliance.

The prime minister added that his plan for the country to celebrate a “Vaccination Day” will take place once health officials determine a sufficient number of the eligible population has been vaccinated.

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.