THE PERFECT PRESENT: Herd immunity achievable by Christmas as US donates 128K Pfizer doses

THE PERFECT PRESENT: Herd immunity achievable by Christmas as US donates 128K Pfizer doses
A shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States arrives at Jet Nassau on Thursday, August 12, 2021. (BIS/PATRICK HANNA)

Single largest tranche of vaccines received to date, with more on the way

“The Bahamas now has the vaccines to meet the demand that exists”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As The Bahamas received its first tranche of 128,000 donated Pfizer vaccines doses from the United States yesterday, Minister of Health Renward Wells said herd immunity in the country could be achieved by Christmas.

“That’s our hope; we’re pushing for it,” he told the media following the arrival of the Pfizer doses, adding that the nation is expected to receive a full donation of about 400,000 Pfizer doses from multiple sources over the next couple of months.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, US Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts and other officials on hand to receive the donation yesterday.

“The fourth tranche of the COVAX Facility is going to be Pfizer. Soon thereafter, there is going to be another tranche,” Wells said.

“We’re trying to decide whether or not during the fifth tranche, it’s going to be Pfizer or another batch of AstraZeneca.

“But at the end of the day, we’re going to have enough vaccines through October to help us get to herd immunity.”

The donation yesterday is the single largest tranche of vaccine doses The Bahamas has received to date.

The Bahamas is expected to receive another tranche in September and again in October, in addition to 57,330 Pfizer doses via the COVAX Facility.

The doses are expected to be rolled out on Monday.

The US-manufactured vaccine will be available for adults and children, ages 12 to 17, with the consent of their parent or guardian.

As the doses touched down and were offloaded, US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Usha Pitts said the donation represented a way for The Bahamas to “really break the back of the pandemic”.

US Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts. (BIS/PATRICK HANNA)

“These vaccines will buttress the vaccines that are already in The Bahamas, provide enough for Bahamians to achieve herd immunity, so we can finally get through this thing,” Pitts said, adding that the gift was an “enduring representation and symbol of our friendship”.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the donation from the United States marked a “turning point” in the pandemic for The Bahamas.

“It will enable us to significantly ramp up our vaccination program and the full donation of nearly 400,000 doses will enable us to fully vaccinate half of our population with the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

“The Bahamas now has the vaccines to meet the demand that exists.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (BIS/PATRICK HANNA)

“What we need now is for Bahamians to come forward quickly to take the vaccines.

“We need Bahamians to get vaccinated as soon as possible to save lives in the country.

“I say to the Bahamian people, you do not have any time to wait any longer.

“You do not have time to keep thinking about it.

“The hospitals are full to [the] limit. Sadly, some of our people are dying, and taking the shots will save your life; not taking them can cost you your life.

“By coming forward quickly, we can save lives, end the emergency phase of the pandemic, restore our economy and jobs and have more openness.”

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”.