'LET'S VACCINATE 200K BY YEAR END': Health officials set goal of half of nation given jab by January

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November 04, 2021

HEALTH officials plan to "ramp up" the country's vaccination campaign with a goal to have about 50 percent of the population vaccinated by the end of the year, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville said yesterday.

He spoke as the Ministry of Health and Wellness received a shipment of 134,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday.

The shipment was facilitated by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Dr Darville said the vaccines were a donation from the United States government.

“It’s very important for us because you know at one particular point we did have some challenges, now with this amount of vaccines there should be no setbacks in terms of our facilities being able to offer the first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.”

He said the vaccination campaign will be ramped up.

“Well as it stands right now, The Bahamas is at about 39 percent vaccinated and we want before the end of the year to get in excess about 45 to 50 percent (vaccinated). “We’re gonna work hard to achieve that goal and we’re definitely gonna ramp up our public education so that every Bahamian in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will know the importance of being vaccinated.”

He said officials are uncertain if a fourth wave will impact The Bahamas, but they want to get the message out that vaccines save lives and reduce the chances of severe disease and hospitalisation.

The national vaccination committee has a goal of 200,000 fully vaccinated Bahamians by the end of the year.

As for the Family Islands, the minister noted: “Vaccines are being administered by the clinics, by our nurses, and other medical staff. We intend to make sure that we now have sufficient vaccines. They will actually be moved to the Family Islands so that the Family Island residents will have the choices that they need and be able to get vaccines as soon as possible.”

Officials will be offering vaccines at different locations. They will be at the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay on Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 2pm-8pm in the storytelling pavilion.

Vaccination is being offered at Town Centre Mall as well the Kendal G L Isaacs National Gymnasium on Saturday.

Officials said there is a partnership with the Mall at Marathon to utilise the facility all of next week from about Tuesday to Friday between the hours of 10am-5pm.

Officials are also looking at having vaccine locations at Fusion Superplex next Saturday and also the Southwest Plaza.

Meanwhile, the minister gave an update on free testing.

“For free testing, we have to do a variety of pilot projects,” Dr Darville said. “We’re gonna do some additional pilot testing in New Providence and in Grand Bahama and a few of our other Family Islands. We’re gonna get the data together and we’re gonna determine exactly how we’re going to use the data….The data will be very important because the data will help us to establish and put together a digital platform that would tag testing to contact tracing.”

This latest tranche of Pfizer vaccines supplements the 128,700 doses the United States delivered to The Bahamas on August 12.

The donation is part of the US’ commitment to fighting COVID-19 across the globe. The US has now delivered over 260,000 of the 379,000 vaccine doses the Biden administration pledged to The Bahamas, and has delivered a total of over 200 million doses worldwide.

In addition to the vaccines, in July the US — through the US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) — also donated four ultra-low temperature freezers to The Bahamas valued at over $100,000 required to store and distribute the Pfizer vaccine. USNORTHCOM also donated medical supplies — valued at $115,000 — needed to administer and handle Pfizer vaccine doses, including syringes, specialised tools and personal protective equipment for manipulating materials at sub-zero temperatures.

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News date : 11/04/2021    Category : Covid-19, Health, Tribune Stories

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