covid19

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

covid19

COVID-19 Vaccine Opened to Persons 50 years and Over, Persons with Disabilities, Restaurant and Retail workers

COVID-19 vaccine opened to persons 50 years and over, persons with disabilities, restaurant and retail workers.

Persons 50 years of age and over and restaurant and retail workers may begin making appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, effective immediately.

Appointments may be made on https://vax.gov.bs for the following vaccination sites:
• Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, New Providence
• Loyola Hall, Gladstone Road, New Providence
• Church of God of Prophecy, East Street, New Providence
• Baha Mar, Cable Beach, New Providence
• Atlantis, Paradise Island
• Susan J. Wallace Community Centre, Grand Bahama

Persons with disabilities and their caregivers on New Providence may begin making appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, starting Monday 12 April. Appointments may be made at https://vax.gov.bs for the vaccination site at Stapledon School, Dolphin Drive.

Please note that the Stapledon School vaccination site is reserved for persons with disabilities only.
Eligible priority groups now include:
• Healthcare workers
• Persons 50 years of age and older
• Persons with disabilities
• Uniformed branches (RBDF, RBPF, COVID Ambassadors, BDOCS, Customs and
Immigration)
• Teachers and staff of schools
• Hospitality workers (hotel and resort employees, public transportation workers,
Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), Nassau Airport Development (NAD)
Co., Nassau Cruise Port (NCP), straw market, port and beach vendors and tour
operators)
• Restaurant and retail workers
• Students and athletes studying or competing abroad, coaches and other support
• Home-bound physically disabled residents
• Members of the clergy
• Accredited media (editors, reporters/anchors, photographers and videographers)
To register a homebound physically challenged resident with the COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Unit please email deborahfox@bahamas.gov.bs or call (242) 376-9017.

For residents who do not have access to the internet, walk-up appointments are available at the Church of God of Prophecy, East Street.

Please note that for those with appointments at the Atlantis vaccination site, the Paradise Island bridge toll will be waived. Proof of appointment is required.

Only persons eligible to receive the vaccine at this time should make an appointment.

A valid work ID indicating proof of occupation and/or proof of age is required at the vaccination center. In the case of students and athletes, student ID and proof of competition will be required.

Information on the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out on Abaco will be released shortly.

To date, more than 15,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera.

More Priority Groups and Vaccination Centers Added to COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out

Teachers and staff of schools, home-bound physically challenged residents, hospitality workers, students and athletes studying or competing abroad are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee has announced.

Eligible priority groups now include:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Persons 60 years of age and older
  • Uniformed branches (RBDF, RBPF, COVID Ambassadors, BDOCS, Customs and Immigration)
  • Teachers and staff of schools
  • Hospitality workers (hotel and resort employees, public transportation workers, Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), Nassau Airport Development (NAD) Co., Nassau Cruise Port (NCP), straw market, port and beach vendors and tour operators)
  • Students and athletes studying or competing abroad, coaches and other support; and
  • Home-bound physically disabled residents.

Additional priority groups will soon be added as facilities are prepared, including for those with physical disabilities.

Appointments may be made at the following vaccination centers:

  • Loyola Hall, Gladstone Road (Healthcare workers, 60-plus and uniformed branches)
  • Church of God of Prophecy, East Street (Healthcare workers, 60-plus and uniformed branches)
  • Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium (Teachers and staff of schools, students and athletes studying or competing abroad)
  • Atlantis, Paradise Island (Hospitality workers)
  • Baha Mar, Cable Beach (Hospitality workers)
  • Susan J. Wallace Community Center, Grand Bahama

To make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine please visit https://vax.gov.bs

Please note the vaccination center assigned to specific priority groups.

To register a homebound physically challenged resident with the COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Unit please email deborahfox@bahamas.gov.bs or call 511.

For residents who do not have access to the internet, walk-up appointments are available at the Church of God of Prophecy, East Street or call 511 for assistance with making an appointment.

Only persons eligible to receive the vaccine at this time should make an appointment.

A valid work ID indicating proof of occupation and/or proof of age is required at the vaccination center. In the case of students and athletes, student ID and proof of competition will be required.

Details on the resumption of vaccinations on Eleuthera and the vaccine roll-out on Abaco will be announced by the end of the week. To date, more than 10,000 vaccinations have been administered on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera.

PM: Groups on Beaches and Parks Limited to 5 People for Easter Weekend

As the Easter weekend approaches, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis stressed that groups on beaches and parks are limited to 5 people only.

He said COVID Ambassadors will monitor beaches and parks to ensure the enforcement of the Emergency order.

WITH fears growing that we could be on the brink of a third wave of COVID infections this was the scene at Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island on Sunday evening.Hundreds of youngsters had packed the eastern end of the beach all day. Few, if any, wore a mask and social distancing guidelines were blatantly ignored.
For over a year we have been warned to stick to the rules - avoid super spreader events and we can beat this pandemic. Now, with Easter just days away all pretence of playing safe seems to have been abandoned.
Photo: Racardo Thomas
Beachgoers at Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island on Sunday. Photo: Racardo Thomas

Why it matters

Beaches were reported to be crowded on Sunday past, as a large number of beachgoers ignored the social distancing and the use of masks protocol.  A picture has circulated showing the beachgoers defiant of the Emergency Order.

The big picture

Director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Ministry of Health, Dr Nikkiah Forbes,  said the country is on the brink of a third wave as it is “fully possible” that COVID-19 cases could jump rapidly after the Easter holiday weekend due to increased social interaction.

What Minnis says

Minnis said large gatherings over the holiday weekend “could set the country back” as other countries grapple with a third wave of the virus.

“We can not afford a painful third wave. We all must do our part. We don’t want another surge in cases in the Bahamas. This will result in more hospitalization and more deaths.”

When asked for his response to criticism that political groups have gathered in large groups to campaign in recent weeks, Minnis said, “You would have seen them still spacing out. And each and everyone, regardless of the political organization, each and everyone was wearing a mask.”

Health Officials Give Good Assurance in AstraZeneca

Health officials are putting fears to rest after international reports circulated that some European countries were temporarily suspending the Astra Zeneca vaccine due to blood clot concerns.

Ministry of Health was quick to address the national concerns that arose after more than 20,000 doses of the vaccine arrived in the country.

The big picture

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation. But in recent days, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Austria have temporarily suspended its use because one woman is reported to have died as a result of blood clots sustained purportedly after being inoculated with the vaccine, along with a small group of people developing clots after receiving the vaccine.

What the Ministry of Health says

  • The vaccines received by the Bahamas on Wednesday, 10th March, are different from the batch reportedly used in the affected countries.
  • The AstraZeneca vaccine received by The Bahamas has met all of the requirements and standards as outlined in the World Health Organization’s pre-qualification system, which has provided Emergency Use Listing.
  • The vaccine has also received Caribbean Regulatory System certification.
  • The Ministry of Health assures the public that COVID-19 vaccines received by The Bahamas will continue to meet the stringent regulatory approval standards stated above.

European Medicines Agency (EMA)

The EMA said blood clots can occur naturally, adding that there had been 30 cases of “thromboembolic events” among the five million Europeans who have received the vaccine.

“There is currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine,” the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Thursday.

“The vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while the investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing.”

Now Is Not the Time to Tell Lies: Pintard to Opposition

Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard condemned the perpetration of “falsehoods” by the opposition. During the Mid-Term Budget Debate, Pintard said it is wrong to spread misinformation at a time when the country is faced with a crisis.

“When persons are sharing false information around health, we can’t be serious about getting out of this crisis.

“…Let’s try to be intellectually honest. There are enough issues for us to compete for the next election cycle as oppose to us becoming fabricators…fabricators of information.

“Some of the people that are the least qualified to make certain assertions are the main ones who are the chief fabricators.”

Pintard then hit out at Centerville MP Reece Chipman, who last week presented a chart during his debate, comparing the salary of parliamentarians to his constituents. Chipman asserted that his constituents make 83 cents while parliamentarians make $7000 monthly. Though pressed by parliamentarians, Chipman did not show how he calculated the amount.

Today Pintard said, “…I just don’t know where that figure came from. I believe that every Member of Parliament can pay their light bill, can pay their water bill, can pay their mortgage and there are a couple (of parliamentarians) who are still paying rent.”

“Mr. Speaker, the people out there need us to be in a position to help them. And to dumb down information to deceive the people who you wish to lead, is inappropriate. No matter who is doing it. It’s bad.

“To seek to raise the misery index as the mains of making myself more attractive is a lack of vision and the inability to share a vision that people would be attached to.”

He called on all parliamentarians to work in tandem for the good of the country.

Arrival of Vaccine Shipment on Wednesday

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected to arrive in the country on Wednesday, after a delay.

Why it matters

The first batch, which includes 20,000 doses, donated by the Government of India, was expected to arrive on Sunday but was rescheduled due to “logistical issues overseas” according to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Bahamians can expect to receive ‘the jab’ shortly after its arrival.

The big picture

Many Bahamians are skeptical about the vaccine. It is not known how many will receive the vaccine but Minnis has stated he will be the first to be vaccinated.

Millions of people around the world have received the AstraZeneca vaccine with no hospitalization or serious illness, according to medical literature.

The Archdiocese’s Position on the Vaccine

Most Reverend Patrick Pinder said all Bahamians eligible to receive the vaccine should do so, adding, “it promotes the common good.”

Pinder said he will receive the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

 

Abaco to See Tightening of Curfew as COVID-19 Infections Climb

The restrictions in Abaco will be tightened to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on that island.

According to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, health officials recommend that the curfew for that island be readjusted from 8 pm to 5 am.

Minnis said there is “no outbreak” on the island but the restrictions are to curtail infections.

State of play

It was discovered that –

  • a few cases of COVID-19 were found at the Murphy Town Primary School in Central Abaco;
  • four (4) positive cases originated from a construction site; and
  • six (6) cases were confirmed to have originated from the Marsh Harbour Clinic.

Currently, no cases were reported in Sandy Point, and eleven tests are pending.

Contact tracing activities are ongoing, and the relevant staff will be placed in quarantine or isolation as required.

Consequently, the Marsh Harbour Clinic has undergone deep cleaning and sanitization and the Marsh Harbour Clinic remains open for service.

A team from the Surveillance Unit in New Providence has been dispatched to initiate contact tracing and to determine the level of exposure to the employees of the clinic and visiting clients.

Three nurses have been sent as support staff to the Marsh Harbour Clinic and two more nurses are expected to arrive soon. As it stands, there is a sufficient number of physicians on the island to manage the COVID-19 cases.

Ingraham Vows to Get Vaccine as He Battles with COVID-19

74-year-old former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham hospitalized with the infectious disease COVID-19, said without a doubt, he will receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

Speaking to the Nassau Guardian, Ingraham said, “There’s no question I’m going to get the vaccine.”

“I would have gotten the vaccine whether I had COVID or not. As soon as I am able to, as soon as it’s available to me, yes ma’am, absolutely, positively.”

Why it matters

Ingraham is one of few politicians who have contracted the virus.

As infection rates are being lowered, the country is set to receive its first batch of Astra-Zeneca vaccine doses in the coming months. However, a number of Bahamians said they will not take the vaccine.

The big picture

Ingraham is said to be stable but in critical care at Doctor’s Hospital, receiving treatment for the virus.  His breathing is being assisted with an oxygen tank.

What happened

Ingraham said he went to the doctor after not feeling well. The doctor initially thought he had bronchitis, but later determined he had COVID-19 after running a test on him and his wife Delores.

“I went and did all the tests for the heart and the x-rays and they all came out fine and then I continued to have discomfort, mostly in urinating,” he said.

He waited 10 days at home to see how the virus progressed but was soon admitted to the hospital.

His wife is said to be doing fine, he said.

Ingraham is still perplexed as to how he contracted the virus, saying he has been cautious in his movements only leaving home for the office then returning home after work.

“I go nowhere,” he said. “I’ve kept my mask on whenever I get outside my house, outside my yard, so I have no idea what could have happened.”

Ingraham, however, acknowledged that his movement in recent weeks may have resulted in the contraction of the virus.

“I did one thing. I went to my barber several weeks ago…I have been in the pharmacy twice in the last year. I have not been in the food store. I’ve not traveled anywhere.

Former Health Minister Dr.Sands, one of Ingraham’s primary caregivers, said Ingraham is under close observation.

“We hope that the prognosis is good, but we have to be vigilant and continue his treatment several more days,” he said.

Wells on Nurses Overtime Pay Debacle. What happened and why?

Minister of Health Renward Wells defended the government’s position on overtime pay for nurses for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wells said the government paid out some $162,000 to nurses from the Department of Public Health for working overtime. But it was later discovered that some nurses may not have been paid the overtime money due to time logged in manually but was not digitally recorded.

Why it matters

Some members of the Bahamas Nurses Union led by its president, Amancha Williams protested in Rawson Square on Wednesday morning demanding the overtime money promised to them by the government.

Pineridge Member of Parliament Frederick McAlpine in the House of Assembly on Wednesday suggested that Wells was deceptive for saying nurses were paid.

Nurses protested on Wednesday during the session of Parliament.

The big picture

When Duane Sands served as Minister of Health, healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic were guaranteed a $5,000 honorarium for March, April and May.

This was when the Ministry of Health was having a hard time finding health officials willing to handle COVID patients in the healthcare system.

What Wells says

Wells said when he became the Minister of Health in July, he was informed that nurses in the Department of Public health were not paid during Hurricane Dorian and some nurses were not paid for overtime during the pandemic.

“As minister, I asked the Ministry of Health for all documents that should have been logged—the quantum, the cost was given to this minister to go to the cabinet for the cabinet to make a decision to pay. The cabinet paper was written. I was told that the $162,000 for the nurses for March to September was all the log for the work. And that was paid,” Wells said.

Wells said he was surprised when the new year rolled in, and he heard that some nurses who worked overtime were not paid.

He vowed that the situation will be cleared up once the claims being made, are verified.

According to Wells, nurses are the only frontline workers who have already received the overtime pay, while doctors and support staff await the payment.

Campbell Says Ministry Tried to Help Homeless Mother. Here’s Why She Turned Down the Offer.

Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said his office has reached out to the 30-year-old woman who was left homeless with her three children after eviction from her apartment, and she has since turned down an offer for temporary housing.

Why it matters

Member of Parliament for Englerston Glenys Hanna-Martin criticized the government for its handling of housing issues and rental assistance amidst the pandemic, highlighting the woman’s issue who was recently featured in national news report.

The big story

The mother of a newborn baby, Claudia Grant was featured on Our News on Tuesday night, telling her story of having to resort to sleeping in her car with her children.

Grant said she was left jobless since March at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was eventually left homeless recently after eviction.

Grant said she relies on the assisstance from the national task force and church charities to get by as the fathers of the children are not in their lives.

What Minister Frankie Campbell says

Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell responded to Gleny’s Hanna-Martin, clarifying his ministry’s response to the issue.

“We have found her. We’ve spoken to her and her response to our offer is that she is not interested in anything temporary. She is looking for a more permanent offer and she is awaiting an offer that was extended to her.

“And my office has indicated to her that if that doesn’t work out, we’re still here for [her].”