As vaccine turnout wanes, govt looking for ways to convince people to get the jab, Darville says

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said health officials are trying to come up with innovative ways to encourage more Bahamians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid low turnout at some centers.

“We need to be innovative because many of our large centers are now not receiving the individuals as fast as we want to,” Darville said.

“We have broken up into smaller groups to actually take the vaccine directly to the communities.

“But while that’s happening, a lot of planning is going on to find innovative ways on how to get as many people vaccinated in our country as we possibly can.”

As of November 20, 143,434 Bahamians were fully vaccinated, representing roughly 37 percent of the population.

Vaccine hesitancy has been a consistent issue hampering uptake.

While just weeks ago there were concerns over the shortage of doses in the country, The Bahamas received 130,000 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month. 

At the time, former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis raised concern over the rate of uptake of the vaccine and called for the government to advise what rate is needed to ensure the doses are used before they expire. 

Asked yesterday about those concerns, Darville said he did not have specific information on expiration dates, but assured that the government is working to make sure that no doses go to waste. 

He also cited his recent announcement that the government is considering giving out third doses of the vaccine to immunocompromised individuals. 

“The actual date of expiration, I do not know offhand, but it is our responsibility at the Ministry of Health and the vaccination committee to devise plans, so that we can use these vaccines to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Darville said.

“I’ve also indicated that the committee is now looking at a third dose for individuals who are immunocompromised. We want to make sure that we are good stewards of this gift from the US government.”

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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