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Wells: Govt considering allowing private companies to bring in COVID-19 vaccines

Minister of Health Renward Wells said the government is considering giving approval to private companies in The Bahamas to secure COVID-19 vaccines.

He said the government is also still in talks with vaccine manufacturers and distributors in efforts to secure more doses. 

“We are still in cooperation with the distributors, the manufacturers directly, with Pfizer and other vaccines,” he told reporters outside Cabinet.

“The government is in conversation with those individuals. There are also third party companies in The Bahamas that are reaching out to manufacturers, and the Ministry of Health is reviewing the documentation that they would have sent so that we can look to give further approval to third parties, private sector companies.

“And we’re also working on a bilateral relationship to the United States to be able to secure and procure additional vaccines.”

The Bahamas has received 87,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine – 20,000 of which were donated by the Indian government in March.

The remaining doses were secured through the COVAX Facility. The Bahamas is still awaiting one more shipment of some 32,800 doses from COVAX, which would bring the total doses to 120,000.

Bahamas Ambassador to the US Sidney Collie recently said The Bahamas will receive two tranches of COVID-19 vaccines from the United States, with the first tranche expected to arrive by the end of the month.

Wells said yesterday that by the end of this week, he should know an exact date for the arrival of the third tranche of AstraZeneca doses from COVAX.

According to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, as of Saturday, 54,199 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine so far in The Bahamas, while 25,047 people had received both doses.

An additional 2,682 people have been vaccinated in the United States.

Wells said previously that he believes about 120,000 people in The Bahamas must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to reach herd immunity.

The health minister has said the country can reach herd immunity by summer.

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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