September 30, 2021
WITH droves of Haitians showing up in the southern Bahamas, the Pan American Health Organization has revealed that fewer than one percent of that country's citizens have been inoculated against COVID-19.
Over the past five days, roughly 900 Haitians escaping extreme poverty in their country arrived in the area of Inagua and Ragged Island. Thousands more have found themselves on the border of Mexico and Texas.
On July 7 this year, Haiti saw the assassination of its President, Jovenel Moise. Then on August 14 the southwest portion of Haiti experienced an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. Two days later, on August 16, the country experienced a direct hit from Tropical Depression Grace.
Newly appointed Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville came under fire over the weekend on social media because while addressing the apprehended Haitians he let them know that serious health precautions had to be taken as they might have had diseases not experienced in The Bahamas.
“We are now in a situation where it is important for us to ensure that the public health situation in The Bahamas is kept,” Dr Darville said.
“You are from Haiti, because of your country and the way how it is, you are exposed to more pathogens than exist in our country. It is important for you to follow the instructions of our healthcare professionals to protect you and to protect us.”
On Monday, Immigration Minister Keith Bell said various tests have been conducted on migrants for the detection of COVID-19 and other diseases but none of the results so far have created any cause for concern.
Addressing the organisation’s weekly webinar on COVID-19, Dr Carissa Etienne, PAHO’s director, not only revealed the low percentage of COVID-19 inoculations in Haiti, but also said PAHO is working diligently with the Haitian government to increase allocations of the vaccine.
“In Haiti, fewer than one percent of people have been protected so far,” Dr Etienne said. “We are on the ground in Haiti helping the country make the most of the vaccines it has on hand and working with the Haitian government and international partner NGOs to plan for additional allocations of vaccine supply in the coming months. Special attention is also focused on uptake of vaccines in the areas affected by the earthquake.
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