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More than 5,000 vaccinated so far

More than 5,000 people have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in The Bahamas to date, a National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee official confirmed last night.

The committee also said that vaccination sites at Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road and at Church of God on East Street will be open to individuals with appointments only.

All appointment slots are filled at this time. The public will be advised when more slots become available, the committee said.

Yesterday, the Public Hospitals Authority said vaccination of healthcare workers, members of uniformed branches and individuals 65 and older will continue in Grand Bahama today and on Monday.

It also said vaccination of other groups and the general public will start on Tuesday.

The vaccine is being administered at the Susan J. Wallace Community Centre on Nansen Avenue and Columbus Park in Freeport, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 Individuals seeking to receive the vaccine must present their National Insurance smart card.

On March 10, 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the government of India arrived in The Bahamas.

 The Bahamian government used this donation to start its vaccination rollout.

Yesterday, a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) official said The Bahamas’ first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX is expected to arrive in early April.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne assured that PAHO is doing “all that it can” to accelerate access to vaccines in the region.

“Following PAHO’s negotiations with the COVAX partners, we have ensured that 21 countries in the Americas will receive their first deployment of vaccines by the end of this week,” she said.

“And in early April, all countries in our region will be able to receive their first deployment of [the] vaccine. This is good news.”

In a statement yesterday, PAHO said The Bahamas was not specified as a recipient of the vaccine doses that are slated for the end of this week.

“PAHO/WHO understands the urgent need for vaccines as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to provide safe, effective vaccines through the COVAX Facility,” it said.

“As the leader in public health, PAHO/WHO will continue to support countries in vaccine deployment, and the response to the pandemic.”

On March 7, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said The Bahamas was expected to receive 33,600 of the 100,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was secured through COVAX, by the end of March. 

He said the remaining doses are expected by the end of May.

 Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, who chairs the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee, has said if The Bahamas does not receive additional doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of the month, the Ministry of Health would hold off on vaccinations until it receives an additional shipment.

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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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