While the COVID-19 Task Force initially planned to limit the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to adults under the age of 65, Task Force Coordinator and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis advised on Thursday that the issue will be reviewed further.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine has been tested in 18 to 65-year-olds,” she said during a virtual press conference.
“However, today February 4, the European Medicines Agency has authorized COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca in people from 18 years onward, including those 65 and above. More data is continually becoming available for this older age group.”
Dahl-Regis said before that information was released the task force had already decided that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will not be immediately administered to anyone over the age of 65.
“We have a choice and at this time, prior to this afternoon’s release of additional data, we had decided that we would vaccinate 18 to 65-year-olds,” Dahl-Regis said.
“…Given the new literature, we would have to review that data and we really need to … have an opportunity to look at some of the published data that has gone under peer review. So, a group of scientists, including our national representatives will have active discussions on this. Such recommendations will be taken to the committee and they will decide but this morning’s plan was to limit our grouping to 18 to 65.”
It is estimated that individuals who are 65 and older make of just over seven percent of the population.
Dahl-Regis said the government is continuing its effort to secure other vaccines.
“The COVID vaccine is not here yet, but as announced earlier this week, The Bahamas has been formally notified that it could receive 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine starting the second half of February through the second quarter of 2021. This would come through the COVAX facility,” she added.
It is expected that 50,000 individuals will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines with the first batch.
Dahl-Regis said there will be a four-step process for COVID-19 vaccination: registration, vaccination, monitoring of adverse side effects and certification.