Days after the United States expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville announced yesterday that The Bahamas is expected to roll out COVID-19 vaccine booster shots by the end of the year.
“Well, first of all, we are planning to give the third dose of Pfizer for immunocompromised patients in the country who have been vaccinated,” Darville said.
“We know that the third dose is absolutely necessary. The medical literature supports it and we’re trying to do it as soon as possible.”
He said the government wants individuals who are at high risk to get their third jab “in order to protect them and prevent them from being hospitalized”.
Darville said there are computer glitches that need to be sorted out before the booster shots can be rolled out.
“I believe it should be done this week,” he said.
“If we complete those glitches, we will definitely roll the program out as soon as those computer technical issues are resolved.”
When asked if the booster shots are expected to be rolled out by end of year, Darville replied, “Oh, definitely before the end of the year.”
As of November 20, 143,434 Bahamians were fully vaccinated, representing roughly 37 percent of the population.
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.
However, despite the additional doses, vaccine hesitancy remains an issue hampering uptake.
Darville said earlier this week that 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,” he 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.”