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Family island vaccination expansion to start Monday

As of Monday, The Ministry of Health will start rolling out COVID-19 vaccines on more Family Islands.

The vaccine will be administered to all residents 18 and older with a Bahamian government-issued ID.

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, special health advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the rollout will start on Monday for Andros, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Andros, Ragged Island and mainland Exuma.

As of Tuesday, the rollout will start on the Berry Islands/Great Harbour Cay, Cat Island, San Salvador and Long Island, Exuma Cays and Rum Cay, according to Dahl-Regis.

She said the vaccine will be rolled out on Eleuthera on Wednesday and Bimini on Friday.

Vaccinations have already started on Abaco.

 “We are very grateful to the United States embassy, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Odyssey Aviation and Air Flight Services for assisting with air transportation of the health and logistics teams and the vaccines to and from the Family Islands during the course of the rollout,” Dahl-Regis said.

“The location of vaccination sites, days and times for each island will be published on opm.gov.bs and will be widely circulated. Online and on-site appointments will be available at all Family Island locations.

“We are appealing to Family Island residents to make their appointments online at vax.gov.bs. If you are unable to make an appointment online, ask a family member or friend for help.

“The online appointment process cuts down on wait times and promotes a more efficient system.”

She said vaccination centers on New Providence and Grand Bahama will remain open during the Family Island roll out.

The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine in The Bahamas began on March 14.

Since then, 21,907 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered at vaccination sites and by mobile units across New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and Abaco, according to Dahl-Regis.

Sixteen thousand nine-hundred and thirty-four doses have been administered on New Providence; 3,512 doses on Grand Bahama; 832 on Abaco and 638 on Eleuthera.

Dahl-Regis said the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has informed the government that The Bahamas will receive its second tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX Facility before the end of May.

She said this tranche will consist of 33,000 doses, which leaves a remaining 34,200 doses to be received through the COVAX Facility.

Last month, PAHO Country Representative Dr. Eldonna Boisson said the remaining 67,200 doses were scheduled to arrive in The Bahamas in May.

That same month, PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne said that “we cannot close our eyes to the fact that vaccine supply continues to be our greatest challenge”.

“A large part of this is due to delays in production as manufacturers rush to scale up capacity,” she said during a press briefing.

“But we are also seeing far too many examples of vaccine nationalism, which limits global availability even further.”

To date, 21,907 doses of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine have been administered at vaccination sites and by mobile units across New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and Abaco, according to Dahl-Regis.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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