“This ain’t no time to ease up; this is a time to double down on our efforts”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands has recommended that the government find ways to incentivize unvaccinated individuals in The Bahamas to become vaccinated, including monetary benefits.
His suggestion comes amid a surge of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system.
“By whatever means possible,” Sands told Eyewitness News.
“If you want to give people an incentive, give them a new car for one person a month or $50,000 for one person a month or whatever, let’s just do it.
“Because as it stands, it’s costing our economy tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Let us recognize just how critical it is for us to get this right.
“We can’t have the Ministry of Tourism bending over backward, pulling out all the stops to make this an attractive destination; you can’t have the hotels working to full the beds and we get pegged as a COVID-unsafe destination.
“I think let’s attack this with the same level of enthusiasm and zeal as we have at different stages of the COVID pandemic.
“This ain’t no time to ease up. This is a time to double down on our efforts.”
Countries and jurisdictions including the United States, Russia and Hong Kong have introduced incentives to their residents in a bid to bolster vaccination numbers.
In The Bahamas, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and many government and health officials have continued urging the public to take the jab.
According to health professionals, none of the COVID-19 hospitalized cases at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) or COVID-19 related deaths have been fully vaccinated individuals.
There have been 291 COVID-19 deaths in The Bahamas.
This is consistent with recent studies on COVID-19 deaths in the US.
An Associated Press analysis in June, which reviewed available US government data from May 2021, showed that 99 percent of the more than 18,000 deaths in America at the time were among the unvaccinated.
As of Saturday, 106,898 COVID-19 doses has been administered in The Bahamas, but fewer than half that figure were fully vaccinated.
A total of 61,803 people have received their first dose, while 46,793 have been fully vaccinated — 11 percent of the estimated population of around 400,000 people.