NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas is expected to receive some 40,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines by the end of August, said Health Minister Renward Wells yesterday.
Speaking to reporters outside the House of Assembly, Wells noted that while negotiations are still ongoing to secure a large donation of Pfizer vaccines, the government has made a down payment for its first tranche of J&J doses through the African Union.
“The Caribbean and Africa came together to increase our buying power,” he explained.
“We have collectively pooled our resources and The Bahamas right now is entitled to about 40,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson.
“We put down our down payment for it and we are expecting probably by no later than the end of August, that we will be receiving that vaccine.”
This follows weeks of limited availability of vaccine appointments due to low supplies.
As of August 7, some 108,506 doses of the vaccines have been administered, of which 62,863 people have received the first dose and 47,580 people are fully vaccinated.
That number includes residents who got fully vaccinated abroad and who have registered with the ministry.
The 5,000 vaccine doses that were borrowed from Antigua and Barbuda in late June will be returned to the country.
During a national address on Monday night, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis again insisted that vaccination is important to reaching a post-emergency orders regime.
He also announced that the government has concluded negotiations to acquire “new vaccines” that will allow The Bahamas over the next few months to have the capacity to vaccinate all Bahamians and residents who wish to be inoculated against COVID-19.
The prime minister said even with a large percentage of Bahamians vaccinated, the virus will not disappear, but this will protect the public and mitigate high cases and hospitalizations.
Although the prime minister noted the importance of vaccination, he assured it will remain voluntary and acknowledged the concerns of those who still have questions about the jab.