THE FIRST COHORT: Pfizer rollout begins today among “select group” of adults and children

THE FIRST COHORT: Pfizer rollout begins today among “select group” of adults and children

US-manufactured vaccine will become available to general public on Thursday

Bahamians and residents will have option to choose which vaccine to take and mix-and-match doses

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A select group of adults and children between the ages of 12 and 17 will be administered Pfizer today as part of an administrative assessment before rollout to the general public, according to health officials.

The Bahamas received 128,000 Pfizer doses via a donation from the US government last week.

A shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States arrives at Jet Nassau on Thursday, August 12, 2021. (BIS/PATRICK HANNA)

During a press conference yesterday, Co-Chair of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis said: “The Pfizer vaccine is available to everyone 12 years of age and older.

“Now, just as we did with the AstraZeneca vaccine, before we begin administering Pfizer to the general public, we will carry out an assessment of the administration of the vaccine with an already selected group of adults and children 12 and older.”

Appointments for Pfizer will be opened as of 3pm today, following which the rollout the of vaccine will begin for the general public on Thursday at the Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium

Following a similar assessment of the vaccine among a select group on Grand Bahama over the coming weekend, Pfizer is expected to be administered to the general public on the island as of August 23.

Health officials also said Bahamians and residents will be able to choose which COVID-19 vaccine to take, whether Pfizer or Astrazeneca, and be able to mix-and-match doses.

The recommended interval for doses of Pfizer, a US-manufactured vaccine, is 21 to 28 days, in contrast to the seven-week recommended period for AstraZeneca, which is manufactured in the UK.

With the shorter window for the US-manufactured vaccine, health officials expect to bolster the rate of fully vaccinated individuals in The Bahamas.

Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis.

Some studies suggest that taking a first dose of AstraZeneca and a second dose of Pfizer offers “strong protection” against the virus and variants such as delta.

The Bahamas is also expected to receive around 34,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson— a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine — by week’s end.

As of August 23, more than 17,100 vaccine appointments will be available, according to Dahl-Regis, who said that over the next six weeks, 60,000 Bahamians and residents are expected to be fully vaccinated.

A total of 171,380 doses have been administered, with 51,150 people fully vaccinated.

That represents just over 20 percent of the population.

To reach herd immunity, anywhere from 75 to 85 percent of the populous needs to take the jab.

As it relates to the delta variant, which continues to surge around the globe, 100 samples taken in July and August have been sent to Brazil to determine additional strains in The Bahamas, with the results expected within a week.

According to samples to date, the predominant strain in The Bahamas appears to be alpha.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.