March 31, 2021
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis urged Bahamians to get the COVID-19 vaccine without delay after 33,600 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the country yesterday.
The vaccines add to the 20,000 doses the Indian government donated earlier this month and are among the 100,800 doses pre-paid through the Pan-American Health Organization Revolving Fund.
“As more people become vaccinated, we will be able to relax restrictions and see more of our family and friends,” Dr Minnis said. “We will be able to open up our economy and to get back to work. Health officials have informed me that they are pleased with the number of people who have taken a vaccine so far.”
This comes as vaccinations expanded to islands outside New Providence and Grand Bahama, with shots being administered on Eleuthera yesterday.
“Vaccinations start today (Tuesday) on Eleuthera and will continue through April 1, starting with healthcare workers, residents over 60 and staff of the uniformed branches,” he said. “Vaccinations on Abaco and Bimini are expected to start after the Easter holidays.”
The vaccination programme in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera will pause during the Easter holiday period and restart next week Wednesday.
In New Providence and Grand Bahama, people with disabilities, teachers and hospitality workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine when the programme resumes.
Dr Minnis said additional vaccine centres will be opened on New Providence and provisions will be made for students and athletes who require vaccinations to travel abroad.
“This will include coaches and other support staff,” he said.
More than 7,000 vaccine doses have been administered since the programme began on March 14. He said the highest number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered in one day was more than 1,000.
Dr Minnis said 63 percent of vaccine recipients have been over 60 and 58 percent of recipients have been women.
“The only way out of this pandemic is through vaccinations,” he said. “Anyone who tells you otherwise is providing you with false information.
“Here at home we are in a race. We must get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible before there is spread of one of these problematic variants to our country.
“Thousands of Bahamians have taken this vaccine, along with approximately 400 million people around the world. I have taken the vaccine. My wife Patricia has taken the vaccine. We are fine.
“In order for us to prevent additional bad waves of this virus, we need Bahamians to quickly come forward to get vaccinated when eligible. It is dangerous to delay taking a safe and effective vaccine during a global public health crisis.”
Sixty-seven thousand vaccines are expected to reach the country by the end of May through the COVAX facility, according to PAHO country rep for the Bahamas, Dr Eldonna Boisson.
Asked if the government has a contingency plan in place if that batch is delayed, Dr Minnis said: “Before the vaccines came in, we were able to conquer the COVID disease by just following the mitigation protocols and just following the laws and enforcing the laws. The vaccines are to rescue us but we still have to follow the protocols and we would still pursue obtaining more vaccines and, yes, there may be a delay...”
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News date : 03/31/2021
Category : Covid-19, About Bahamians, Tribune Stories