October 05, 2021
THE chairperson of the National Vaccine Consultative Committee says The Bahamas faces rapidly dwindling COVID-19 vaccine supplies due to increased demand, however hesitancy remains among a portion of the population about receiving the jab despite more than 100,000 people reaching full inoculation.
On Sunday, health officials announced that the country reached a new vaccination milestone, with 104,380 people now fully vaccinated.
However, in an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis said while this was exciting news, it did not mean that vaccine hesitancy was a thing of the past.
She said there was rapid consumption of doses, but currently no confirmed date for when new supplies from the US government or the COVAX facility will arrive.
“I’m excited,” she said of the new vaccination milestone.
“We started March 15 and so to attain that level within this period of time is significant given that we’ve had to manage the supply issue of vaccines and I think that tranche of Pfizer—128,000 doses—really made a difference and the uptake and the demand is there, and I think it’s been there for a while.
“What I think is really impacting the demand is the travel. The proposed travel requirements for international travel particularly the US. We have been seeing a steady stream at the vaccination sites. The Family Islands have done extremely well, and I am really pleased although the numbers aren’t high, the participation is great.”
Asked if this meant that vaccine hesitancy was no longer an issue, Dr Dahl-Regis said there was still increasing amounts of misinformation influencing decisions against receiving the vaccines.
“I think we still have a population who are not willing to take the vaccine. We have not overcome it. We may have made a dent in it, but we still have those persons who really are still, for the same reasons when we started, are continuing and the misinformation has not decreased, it has increased.”
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