Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Minnis Prepares for Vaccine Rollout as Countries Debate Vaccine Certificate for Travel

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Prime Minister Hubert said he expects that COVID19 vaccine certificates will be required for travel as the Bahamas prepares to receive and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a press statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Minnis said “It is anticipated that anyone receiving a vaccine will receive a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. The presentation of the certificate may be associated with travel in the future, a potential requirement being discussed internationally.”

The big picture

Minister of Health Renward Wells said the Government is working to secure COVID-19 vaccines, having already made a down payment to secure enough does to vaccinate 20 percent of the population through the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility).

Why it matters

  • It is anticipated that vaccines will become available in the Bahamas by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
  • In preparation for the arrival of vaccines, the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee is currently working to finalize the operational plan to distribute the vaccine to eligible residents in the shortest possible time across the country.

Members of the Committee include:

  • Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, Special Health Adviser to the Prime Minister (Chair)
  • Mr. Ed Fields, Director of Business Development, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. (Deputy Chair)
  • Mrs. Stephanie Dean, RN (Ret.)
  • Mr. Carrol Sands, Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agency
  • Bishop Delton Fernander, President, Bahamas Christian Council
  • Archdeacon Keith Cartwright, St. Agnes Parish
  • Dr. Danny Davis, PhD, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Marcela Elliott-Ferguson, PhD, University of The Bahamas
  • Mrs. Viana Gardiner, COO, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Office of the Prime Minister
  • Ms. Erica Wells Cox, Director of Communications, Office of the Prime Minister

Other details

  • Specific subcommittees made up of additional members of the public and private sectors will also be formed to provide for wider consultation and support where needed.
  • Baseline surveys have already been carried out amongst healthcare workers and the general public. The results are helping to inform the phased distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Information on vaccine safety and the national plan will be shared with the public in regular communications across multiple platforms.
  • Recruitment of teams of vaccinators has already started. Training will begin shortly. Vaccinators will be among the first to receive vaccines once they are available in The Bahamas.
  • The policy of the Government of the Bahamas is that the decision on taking a COVID-19 vaccine will be entirely voluntary. Vaccines will be free of charge. Vaccines will be given to adults.
  • At this time, the two-dose regimen, which has not been approved for people under the age of 18, has met the required standards for distribution in The Bahamas.
  • Adherence to public health measures, including wearing of masks, keeping a distance of six feet from others and frequent handwashing and sanitization, will still be required until the spread of COVID-19 has been eliminated.
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