Monday, May 23, 2022


Governor General Contracts Breakthrough Case of COVID-19

Governor-General C.A Smith has contracted a breakthrough case of the coronavirus after being vaccinated.

A press release from Government House said Smith was tested on Friday after coming in contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive.

His results came back on Sunday confirming a positive result.

Smith is not experiencing any symptoms and is quarantined.

It was not revealed where Smith contracted the virus.

First Batch of Pfizer Vaccine to Arrive on Thursday

The first shipment of Pfizer will arrive in the country on Thursday.

397,000 doses were donated to the Bahamas by the US government and are a part of nearly 837,000 doses delivered to Caribbean countries.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday that the country will receive 128,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday.

The vaccines are due to arrive by flight at 1:30pm tomorrow.

“Along with the doses we will receive tomorrow, the vaccine supplies we already received, and other doses on the way, over the next weeks and months we will have the capacity to vaccinate all Bahamians and residents who wish to receive the vaccine,” said Minnis

“Our vaccine supply will allow us to give a significant percentage of our population protection. This will in time lessen the likelihood that we will have large-scale surges that cause extremely high hospitalizations.”

Minnis noted that the Pfizer vaccine will be available to adults and to 12- to 17-year-olds with the consent of a parent or guardian.

Minnis thanked the US Government for the generous donation, including the assistance of the US Embassy in Nassau, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), for facilitating the donation.

Only Fully Vaccinated People Can Go Back to Normal

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said once people are fully vaccinated they can commence a form of normal life.

In an address in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Minnis pushed for people to get the vaccine, emphasizing that complete vaccination is necessary if the economy and health of the country is to return to normalcy.

Why it matters

The government is seeking to expand the COVID-19 vaccine access, as the country sees an increase in COVID-19 cases with the identification of new strains.

21,907 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered to Bahamians since the beginning of inoculation on March 4.

16,934 doses have been administered on New Providence; 3,512 doses on Grand Bahama; 832 on Abaco and 638 on Eleuthera.

The big picture

So far, the Bahamas has received a total of 53,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

20,000 doses were donated by the Government of India.

33,600 doses were received through the COVAX Facility with the assistance of the Pan American Health Organization.

The Bahamas is scheduled to receive an additional 67,200 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.

The country will receive the second tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX Facility before the end of May.

What Minnis said

Dr. Minnis said once people are fully vaccinated, they can participate in a closed environment, “once all are fully vaccinated.”

Minnis said indoor dining and work in the Junkanoo shacks can resume for those who are fully vaccinated.

Minnis added that travelers within the Bahamas who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus will be exempted from COVID-19 test requirements that are currently in place when traveling from New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Exuma and Eleuthera.

These travelers will be exempted immediately after full vaccination. Proof of full vaccination will be required.

Effective 1st May, those traveling to the Bahamas from outside of the country, will be exempted from a COVID-19 test if they are fully vaccinated and have passed the two-week immunity period.

Proof of full vaccination will be required.

To be clear if an individual is not fully vaccinated that individual will still be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test where testing requirements are in place, Minnis said.

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
• 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
• 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.

Nurse Becomes First to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

The first COVID-19 vaccination in the Bahamas took place Sunday morning.

The first person to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine was a healthcare worker, Public Health Nurse, Sister Ruth Bastian.

Nurse Bastian received the jab at the Loyola Hall in Gladstone Road. Bastian said she was pleased to demonstrate her confidence in the safety of the vaccine and encouraged others to take the vaccine when it’s their turn.

This signals the beginning of the Bahamas’ vaccine rollout.

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Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis receives a jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Public Health Advisor Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis also received the vaccine.

Last week, India, a manufacturer of the AstraZeneca vaccine, donated 20,000 doses to the Bahamas as it did to other Caribbean countries.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and his wife Patricia will receive the first jab at 2:45 pm today, as well.

Following concerns by some European Countries in regard to blood clots caused by the particular vaccine in a small group of people,  health officials in the Bahamas have put fears to rest, assuring that the vaccines received by the Bahamas on Wednesday,  were different from the batch reportedly used in the affected countries, and have met all of the requirements and standards set by the World Health Organization.

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.”

Some EU Countries Temporarily Stop Use of AstraZeneca Over Blood Clot Concerns

One day after the Bahamas received 20,000 doses of Astra-Zeneca vaccine, three European countries are temporarily suspending the use of the vaccine while they investigate one death over reports of blood clots.

Denmark, Norway and Iceland said they will pause the use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure for two weeks.

Why it matters

The Bahamas received a batch of AstraZeneca yesterday, the first vaccines to arrive in the country to assist in the fight against COVID-19. The doses were donated by India, which has also helped other Caribbean countries obtain the vaccine.

More AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to arrive in the country in mid-April-May.

The big picture

AstraZeneca has been approved by the World Health Organisation.

What Denmark says

Denmark’s health officials say “it has not been determined, at the time being, that there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots”.

A 60-year old woman who was inoculated with the vaccine formed a clot and died.

Other reports surfaced that blood clots developed among some people who were vaccinated with AstraZeneca.

Officials are concentrating their investigation on one batch of vaccines those countries received.




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.

Minnis Sets His Eyes On Reopening Fully With Successful Vaccine Distribution

As the country awaits its share of the COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced an appointment of the COVID-19 Vaccine National Consultative Committee to ensure the proper distribution of the vaccine when it becomes available.

In his New Year National Address on Tuesday evening, Minnis said the vaccines will ensure a reopening of the country in the coming months.

The Committee is chaired by Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, OD, CMG, and is made up of public health experts, and representatives of various sectors, including, religious and community leaders.

Why it matters?

Successful vaccines like Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Oxford University-AstraZeneca are now available on the world market.

The Bahamas has already secured vaccines for 20% of the population, through the COVAX Facility and World Health and Pan American Health Organisations.

The Bahamas awaits its share.

Minnis on restrictions and vaccine availability

  • Dr. Minnis did not say exactly when the restrictions and curfews will be relaxed, but he said he is targetting the coming months.

“Thankfully, because there are now successful vaccines for COVID-19, our country, and our economy, are set to reopen more fully in the months ahead.

“The end is in sight. Restrictions will end. We will get back to our way of life. Jobs and the economy, are coming back.

  • Minnis, aware that variants of COVID-19 have evolved in countries around the world, he said if the variants come into the country, the Bahamian people can expect tighter measures to fight the infection.

“We still have a few more months to go, especially as the pandemic continues to rage, in countries all around us.

“Internationally, more infectious variants of the virus have evolved, and been detected. It is possible, that cases will rise again before vaccines arrive. If this happens, as a Government and people, we will have to return, to some of the measures that worked, to beat back previous waves. Through our experience during the pandemic year, we now know the formula that works,” Minnis said.

Wells Assures Safe Roll-Out of COVID-19 Vaccine

In his first national press conference for 2021, Minister of Health Renward Wells announced the procurement of vaccines aimed at curbing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country.

The latest COVID-19 statistics revealed there were 7,969 cases throughout The Bahamas, as was disclosed during the press conference held Friday, January 8, 2021.  Total COVID-19 hospitalizations continued on a downtrend and stood at 11, from 15 on January 1.

Wells said, “Now that  COVID-19  vaccines have been produced, the Government of The Bahamas is working on all fronts to secure the vaccines.   Currently, there are three authorized COVID-19 vaccines on the world market — Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Oxford University-AstraZeneca,” Minister Wells announced.

“Through the COVAX Facility and with the assistance of the World Health and Pan American Health Organizations, The Bahamas has presumptively secured enough doses to vaccinate 20% of our population once available,” Minister Wells, said.

Adding that, “the Government of The Bahamas assures its citizens and residents that the vaccines chosen for use will be safe and appropriate for distribution throughout our islands.”

And, to facilitate this distribution of a National COVID-19 Vaccine, Minister Wells also announced that a Strategic Plan has already been approved by Cabinet.

“A COVID-19 Vaccine National Consultative Committee has been established, by the Prime Minister, to safely introduce the COVID-19 vaccine in The Bahamas,” he said.

This committee will give advice to the Ministry of Health’s National Immunization Coordinating Committee (NICC) and the National Immunization Technical   Working Group  (NITWG).  “Be assured, Government’s objective remains the same — to continually provide free vaccines, to all who wish to benefit from the protection that vaccination offers.

“Again, let me state the policy of the Government of the Bahamas: The COVID-19 Vaccine will be given without charge to the Bahamian people, and uptake of this vaccine, by the Bahamian people, will be completely voluntary,” Minister Wells said.

According to the minister, when a safe and effective vaccine is available in the country, the public will be informed and invited to receive the vaccine in specific groups, at no cost.

He also assured that the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Team continues to monitor in-country virus trends, in anticipation of a possible third wave and maybe with a new variant in the mix.

The Minister thanked the public for adapting to the new ways of interacting.

“As the world continues to fight COVID-19, the methods may differ, but the commonality remains the same – the application of the preventative measures.   Your continued adherence to these measures now can and will determine our national circumstances later,” he said.

By Lindsay Thompson/ BIS