ON THE BANDWAGON: More than 10K people in The Bahamas vaccinated against COVID so far

ON THE BANDWAGON: More than 10K people in The Bahamas vaccinated against COVID so far
(PHOTO: NOVIKOV ALEKSEY VIA SHUTTERSTOCK)

“We have in hand the solution for what ails us”

Health minister notes govt seeking to procure more vaccines, including from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Just over 10,000 people have been vaccinated in The Bahamas to date, according to Minister of Health Renward Wells.

The country received  33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) COVAX Facility, last week, shoring up the nation’s supplies since it received 20,000 doses as a donation from India last month.

Wells said with the additional vaccines in-country, Bahamians are urged to continue to register to take it.

“We are around 10,000 persons having been vaccinated,” he said.

“…We have 53,600 doses of the vaccine and we are looking to get all of that into circulation.”

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

The health minister noted that people have been signing up en masse and even calling him over the lack of appointments until May.

He said officials are looking to open additional vaccination sites to make sure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can be and to combat potential further increases of COVID-19 cases.

While vaccinations were suspended over the holiday weekend, they are set to resume on New Providence and Grand Bahama today.

Doses of vaccines have begun to be administered on Eleuthera, and Abaco and Bimini are expected to begin inoculations this week.

Wells advised that to date, there has been no evidence of new strains of COVID-19 in the country from the 30 viable samples sent away to be tested earlier this year.

He noted that additional samples will be sent to a lab in Trinidad with a two-week turnaround time, “to get a better sense as to whether there is a variant”.

He added, however, that vaccines including Pfizer, Moderna and others have been proven effective against the variants as well.

“We have in hand the solution for what ails us — that is the vaccine,” he said.

A woman is vaccinated against COVID-19 at Doctor’s Hospital last month.

While he could not give a timeline, Wells said the government is seeking to secure additional types of vaccines, including the Johnson and Johnson one-jab vaccine.

He added: “We are going to have our ultra-low-temperature storage refrigerator in-country at the beginning of May, which is in about a month, so we will be able to bring Pfizer in-country if we need to.

“But we also have facilities in-country now where we can store Pfizer if we were able to access it.”

Healthcare workers, residents over 60 and staff of the uniformed branches are currently eligible to take the vaccine.

The prime minister has said those with disabilities, teachers and hospitality workers will become the next eligible groups to receive the vaccine.