June 07, 2021
FORMER Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands says while he believes the country is making some progress in getting Bahamians vaccinated against COVID-19, "we are nowhere near the beneficial threshold" of achieving herd immunity.
He also said in order for the country to see the results of vaccinations, at least “200,000 more people” need to be fully vaccinated.
According to the government’s latest vaccine tracker, 62,183 vaccine doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered to Bahamians and residents to date, including 13,749 second doses.
Yesterday, Dr Sands said while numbers show the country is moving in the right direction, they are still a far cry from where The Bahamas needs to be in order to achieve herd immunity.
Health Minister Renward Wells told reporters last week he estimated 120,000 people need to be vaccinated in order for the nation to be “in good stead” in the fight against COVID-19.
However, Dr Sands told The Tribune yesterday: “We have almost 400,000 people in (the) country... if we want to reap the benefits of vaccination, we’re going to need to get several hundred thousand more people fully vaccinated and I said several hundred thousand more, so two hundred thousand more fully vaccinated at least. So, we’re nowhere near the beneficial threshold for vaccinations.”
He said to get more people vaccinated, officials need to continue addressing the deep-rooted concerns many have regarding the vaccine, which is causing hesitancy in some quarters.#This includes clearing up misinformation being widely circulated on social media about the shots, he added. Dr Sands said educational campaigns and other informative programmes could be launched in helping to get the message across.
“We’re making some progress and I’m grateful for those that have been vaccinated but we have many more people who are still afraid and who are still hesitant, who are still reluctant, and we need to find out what their concerns are and to sensitively and compassionately reach out to them because people have some genuine concerns,” the Elizabeth Estates MP said.
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