UP FOR GRABS: US seeking to donate 60M vaccines; Bahamas could be among recipients

UP FOR GRABS: US seeking to donate 60M vaccines; Bahamas could be among recipients

Biden administration expected to announce beneficiaries soon

Wells hopeful Bahamas will be among recipients whether by donation or purchase

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While the Biden administration is still working on plans to share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) giving its approval, Daniel Durazo, the public affairs officer at the United States Embassy in Nassau, said yesterday that the US will announce which countries could receive the vaccine doses in the “coming days and weeks”.

According to Durazo, the US does not expect to use the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine domestically during the next few months given its strong portfolio of vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Daniel Durazo, public relations officer at the US Embassy in Nassau.

However, before any vaccine doses can be shipped, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will confirm they meet product quality expectations, as part of its ongoing review of all doses made at the plant where the vaccine is being produced.

“As such, at this moment there actually aren’t any AZ doses ready yet that have fully completed and cleared that process to be sent to other countries,” Durazo told Eyewitness News.

He noted that approximately 10 million doses could be released in the coming weeks while another 50 million, which were in various stages of production, could be completed throughout May and June.

“In sum, the administration expects to have around 60 million doses of AZ that the US could share with other countries, as they become available over the next two months,” Durazo said.

“As these doses become available, the plans will be finalized as to where they [are] sent.

“As to which specific countries may be included in this plan, the administration is working on plans to share these doses when they become available.

“The US will have more to say about how the administration is determining with whom to share doses in the coming days and weeks.”

According to the White House, the vaccine, which has yet to be authorized for use in the US, will be released once it clears safety reviews — a move that is expected to occur in the coming weeks.

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

The White House has also expressed confidence that its supplies of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will be sufficient for its ongoing vaccination campaign in the US.

Outside of the Churchill Building yesterday, Minister of Health Renward Wells said while he could not confirm whether The Bahamas would be a beneficiary of the US vaccines, he does not see “a reason as to why we would not be”.

He said The Bahamas looks forward to being among the countries that receive the vaccine whether by donation or purchase.

AstraZeneca has been used widely across the European Union and elsewhere.

It has been used exclusively in The Bahamas to inoculate more than 25,000 people against the virus.

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”.