NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Super Value will begin offering coronavirus vaccinations this weekend, according to the food store franchise, becoming the first private sector entity to offer the jab since the government launched its vaccination campaign in April.
“COVID-19 vaccinations will be available next Saturday and Sunday at the Golden Gates Shopping Center and Quality Market, South Beach,” read a post on Super Value’s Facebook page just before 1pm yesterday.
In June, Super Value owner Rupert Roberts said while he had offered a space for the Ministry of Health to facilitate a vaccination center, the government appeared keener for the franchise to adopt a Walgreens approach where employees and customers could get vaccinated while in-store.
“They want to send a nurse in and have several chairs and see if the staff and the public will take it,” Roberts told Eyewitness News at the time.
“I mean, they can do an experiment and if it works, then they can use all of the stores in major locations — east, west, north, south.
“I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t think the people who haven’t taken it so far, I don’t think we can entice them to take it.”
In a staff memo in September, Super Value advised that the company encourages staff to become fully vaccinated by the end of September or alternatively submit a negative COVID test weekly.
Super Value was not among the vaccination sites named by the Ministry of Health on its vaccination schedule on Sunday.
The vaccination centers included Mall at Marathon on Marathon and Robinson Roads from 10am to 6pm Monday through Saturday; Church of God of Prophecy on East Street on Monday through Friday between 9am-4pm; and Melia Nassau Beach Hotel on West Bay Street Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.
The schedule was dated November 22-27.
The ministry welcomed both appointments and walk-ins.
Roberts has said that the food store chain is hoping to have its 1,000 employees vaccinated by the end of September.
As of August, 30 percent of its staff had been vaccinated.
That month, the country recorded 18,139 total cases and had nearly 3,000 active cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
At that time, 79,000 people had been fully vaccinated.
Since then, vaccinations have climbed over 143,000, though uptake of the jab appears to have slowed more recently.
As of Monday, there were a total of 22,681 COVID cases in The Bahamas, of which 228 remained active.
The country has recorded 671 COVID deaths, with 68 deaths under investigation.