First doses of the Pfizer vaccine could resume as early as today, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said yesterday, moments after 57,330 doses of Pfizer landed in the country.
On October 12, the ministry said due to diminishing supplies of Pfizer, first doses would no longer be offered as of October 18.
Darville said yesterday that there are teams on standby who are ready to move.
“We have people at all our centers expecting to be vaccinated and they want Pfizer,” he said.
“The program was scaled back a little bit because we needed to have the vaccines on the ground.
“They are here, they will be stored effectively and you will begin to see even a greater roll out because the appetite and the demand for vaccines, in particular Pfizer, is definitely on the rise.
“That is a good sign for us. We need to be able to meet the demand with this supply.
“We will begin to see the roll out as early as this week, possibly tomorrow (Friday).”
The Pfizer doses, courtesy of the COVAX Facility, arrived in The Bahamas shortly after noon. This is the fourth tranche of vaccines The Bahamas has received through COVAX.
As of October 23, second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be offered, according to the ministry, which added that, consequently, the Pfizer vaccine will be made available as a second dose instead.
Darville said the vaccines are absolutely essential.
“We have people throughout our Family Islands just waiting for the doses to arrive,” he said.
“We are pleased that they are here today.
“You will see very shortly, we will begin to boost up and bump up the amount of vaccinations at our various centers, not only on New Providence or Grand Bahama but also throughout the Family Islands.”
According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, as of Saturday, 119,172 people were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in The Bahamas (including Johnson & Johnson vaccine), and a total of 129,687 people had received at least one dose of a vaccine (not including Johnson & Johnson).
More than 22,000 Bahamians and residents caught COVID since March 2020 and more than 600 have died because of the virus.
Dr. Eldonna Boisson, PAHO/WHO Country Representative for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, was on hand at Lynden Pindling International Airport and encouraged Bahamians and residents to get vaccinated.
Boisson said The Bahamas is fortunate to have three of the six WHO emergency use listed vaccines – Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
“Vaccines are one very good tool in our armory in this fight against the COVID-19 virus,” she said.
“However, we must continue to use the public health and social measures that we know work to reduce the spread of the virus and or its variants.”
She urged Bahamians to “do everything you can to protect yourselves and your loved ones”.
Scores of Bahamians crowded the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium earlier this week hoping to get vaccinated, some waiting for nearly three hours.