Govt wants 70 percent vaccination rate before lifting mask mandate 

The government will consider lifting the mask mandate once 70 percent of the eligible Bahamian population is fully vaccinated, Minister of Health Dr. Michael Darville said yesterday.

Prime Minister Philip Davis indicated last week that the mask mandate will be lifted once more people are vaccinated.

Darville was asked yesterday if the public could expect the mask mandate to be lifted by the end of the year if 70 percent vaccination is achieved.

“If we reach 70 percent, begin to see the downward trend, and we begin to see what we are seeing now in our hospital system where we have more people in hospital with COVID than in hospital suffering from COVID, then our EOC (emergency operations committee) will work very closely with our advisors and hopefully, with the grace of God, we will be able to reduce or even remove the mask mandate,” he said.

Darville said The Bahamas is committed to achieving the World Health Organization’s goal for each country to fully vaccinate 70 percent of their population.

He said other Caribbean countries are trying to achieve this goal.

“The reason why that’s important is because we believe that if we get at that level, it will prevent a large influx of individuals to our hospital systems in the event that we start to see higher incidences of COVID in country,” Darville said.

While noting that 54 to 56 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, he said the government is aiming to achieve 60 percent vaccination “within a few months”.

Nearly 160,000 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine since last year while 170,097 people have been fully vaccinated. While some countries consider full vaccination dose shots of a vaccine plus a booster shot, Darville said that double doses is considered full vaccination in The Bahamas.

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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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