Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Minnis Hoping for Smooth Vaccine Rollout

The Minnis administration is pulling all of its resources to ensure a smooth vaccine rollout, as the distribution plan is in its final stages of completion, according to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Minnis in a national address on Sunday said drive-thru sites, mobile units and assistance from the US embassy are being used to ensure Bahamians wanting the vaccine will be vaccinated.

The big picture

The country is expected to receive the first batch of the 100,000 doses of Astra-Zeneca vaccine beginning this month.

The government has also secured a commitment from the Government of India for a small quantity of AstraZeneca vaccines from a WHO/Emergency Use Listing (EUL)-approved manufacturer in India.

What the PM says

“The government continues to work on all fronts to secure additional approved vaccines for the Bahamas,” said Minnis.

“Officials are speaking directly with multiple suppliers to obtain more WHO/EUL approved vaccines.”

Minnis assured that the government will only accept COVID-19 vaccines that are pre-qualified for use by the World Health Organization and approved by stringent regulatory authorities.

He urged all who are eligible to get vaccinated.

“I will take the vaccine,” he said. “I will urge family and friends to take the vaccine.

“By getting vaccinated you will help the country to return to a greater level of normalcy. By getting vaccinated you will also help our economy to recover faster. When a large percentage of Bahamians are vaccinated, we will be able to responsibly open up even more.”

Details of the distribution

  1. Healthcare workers, people over the age of 65, uniformed branch members and frontline workers will be among the first priority groups eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on New Providence and Grand Bahama.
  2. Critical workers in high-risk settings and other essential service workers will also be included among the first groups.
  3. On the Family Islands, all eligible residents who choose to take the vaccine will be vaccinated at the same time. The schedule will not follow the prioritized group rollout on the islands.
  4. The US Embassy has offered to assist with air transportation to the Family Islands during the vaccine rollout, particularly the smaller islands and cays.
  5. 8 to10 vaccination sites have been identified on New Providence, inclusive of drive-thru sites.
  6. Sites have also already been identified on Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
  7. Mobile units will be used to safely distribute vaccines to vulnerable populations in their communities; focus will be placed on high-risk populations where COVID-19 has occurred.
  8. Health officials and the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee are looking at additional platforms to increase access to and ensure equity of distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to all communities.
  9. Vaccine appointment software is very near completion and is expected to be rolled out in advance of distribution, for scheduling of appointments digitally.
  10. For those without access to the internet, appointment centers will be set up to provide assistance with making appointments to receive the vaccine.

100,000 AstraZeneca Doses of Vaccine Promised This Month. What is the vaccine?

The Bahamas is set to receive 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this month.

In a press statement released from the Office of the Prime Minister, it was confirmed that the government was notified by COVAX of the estimated COVID-19 vaccine dose allocation for the first phase of delivery to the Bahamas.

COVAX, a coalition led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi (Vaccine Alliance), informed Bahamian health authorities that the country could receive 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, at the beginning of the second half of February through the second quarter of 2021.

How it works

  • The AstraZeneca vaccine is made from a weakened version of the common cold from chimpanzees but modified to look like coronavirus.
  • When injected into the arms of a patient, the immune system begins to make antibodies and attacks any coronavirus infection.

How effective is AstraZeneca?

According to a study, the AstraZeneca vaccine is 82% effective against the virus, with a three-month gap between two shots.

The trial data by the University of Oxford shows that the vaccine also significantly reduces the transmission of the virus.

Swabs taken from volunteers in the U.K. arm of the trial showed a 67% reduction in transmission after the first dose.

The German COVID vaccination committee recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine only be used for the 18-64 age group, citing the lack of data on its effectiveness on people over the age of 65.

The AstraZeneca trials show that the most common side effects of the vaccine were usually mild or moderate and got better within a few days after vaccination. The most common side effects are pain and tenderness at the injection site, headache, tiredness, muscle pain, a general feeling of being unwell, chills, fever, joint pain, and nausea.

The country’s National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee will hold a press conference on Thursday at 5 pm, to discuss the details about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.