MORE MAKE THEIR CHOICE: Health minister notes “major uptick” in residents opting to take COVID vaccine

MORE MAKE THEIR CHOICE: Health minister notes “major uptick” in residents opting to take COVID vaccine
Minister of Health Renward Wells speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (BIS PHOTO/PATRICK HANNA)

Wells says govt aiming to get Bahamas in a position where pandemic restrictions are no longer necessary

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — There has been a major uptick in registration for vaccinations over the past few days, said Minister of Health Renward Wells yesterday.

Wells was responding to questions from reporters on the sidelines of the recommissioning of Rand Memorial Hospital on Grand Bahama.

Princess Margaret Hospital Chief Telephonist Marina Laing receives her first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 18, 2021. (BIS PHOTO/LETISHA HENDERSON)

“We have had a major uptick in individuals signing up to be vaccinated over the past few days and we are working feverishly to source other vaccines so that we are able to get our entire society vaccinated,” he said.

Pointing to the current situation in the United Kingdom and Israel, Wells said the government is ready to get to the point in its vaccination program where restrictions are no longer necessary.

Some British professors have claimed their country is no longer in a pandemic as a result of its successful vaccine rollout, which has reportedly cut infection rates by 90 percent.

Wells said: “We are looking forward to seeing that take place in The Bahamas so that we can open up our economy, getting our Bahamian people back to work, bringing the hope and opportunity that so many folks have been looking for and desiring.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced eased restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, including exemption from RT-PCR testing for fully vaccinated travelers.

Wells said despite the criticism surrounding the policy, given that the virus is still contractable even with vaccination, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

“There is no 100-percent safe medical process. There is no 100-percent safe anything… There is no 100 percent guarantee on anything,” he said.

“With vaccinations, your opportunity to contract is greatly reduced. The clinical effects with you contracting COVID are greatly reduced and it gives you the opportunity to, as a society, move to a circumstance that we now see taking place with the flu.”

He continued: “I don’t believe the Bahamian people ought to be afraid.

“…The government, I believe, has made a very good decision in being able to move into that direction to allow persons in.”

The health minister also addressed concerns regarding employers implementing mandatory vaccinations in their vaccines, noting it is a “legal matter” and reiterating the government’s policy position that vaccinations are not mandatory.

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.