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‘We Must Clear Up Misinformation About Covid-19’

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH officials have to clear up public “misconceptions and misinformation” about COVID-19 and associated vaccines as the government prepares to have the drug in The Bahamas “as soon as possible”, a top doctor said yesterday.

The Pan American Health Organisation has said more than once the vaccine should reach the region by March.

“The Ministry of Health and the government of The Bahamas is working very hard to make the vaccine available as early as possible,” Dr Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Ministry of Health, said.

“They have prioritised procurement of the vaccine. As the minister has said, The Bahamas has put forward funds already in an effort to procure that vaccine as soon as possible. All efforts are being made and we can expect it in 2021.”

Asked about fears of issues with the vaccine, Dr Forbes explained what the focus should be when dealing with the drug.

“Key issues about the vaccine, in the general broad context, would be to make sure that globally the vaccines are acceptable and available to all including developing countries,” she said. “Barriers to accessibility such as costs and other factors would ideally be minimised.

“We know that the government of The Bahamas has committed to procuring the vaccine as early as possible and we can expect that in 2021. There is another issue that we have to consider and that is vaccination coverage that is broad enough to result in herd immunity. This is important.”

Dr Forbes, a member of the COVID-19 task force, said it’s important to work through the misconceptions of COVID-19 and its, now available, vaccines.

“Vaccines are one thing but people have to be vaccinated for there to be the desire of preventing disease and having immunity,” she said. “For example, there was a study in the United States looking at vaccine hesitancy or scepticism. About 50 percent of the persons expressed that they might be hesitant and so we do have to work through misconceptions and misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccine and concerns that may arise because of the accelerated production and the availability of these vaccines and to reiterate that safety remains stringent in those studies.

“Of course we should remember the facts that people with COVID-19 - that not everyone will have mild to moderate disease and do okay. Many people will have severe disease and maybe even die. So, it’s valuable and important to have a vaccine that can prevent infection, essentially.”

Both the United Kingdom and the United States have begun vaccinating its citizens, prioritising those in the healthcare systems and those at high risk for contracting the potentially deadly virus. Asked how The Bahamas will prioritise its recipients, she said: “In general, it should be the persons who are most at risk of getting COVID- 19. Those persons could be front line workers - like healthcare workers, like people who have comorbidities. That would be a logical and reasonable approach.

“Notably that could be different for different countries and populations aside from frontline workers. For example in some countries they had a problem with long term care facilities so that might be included.”

Comments

TalRussell 2 months, 1 week ago

Comrade Dr. Forbes says: “Notably that could be different for different countries and populations aside from frontline workers. For example, in some countries, they had a problem with long-term care facilities so that might be included.” Shakehead a quick once for upyeahvote, a slow twice for not?

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

If the country’s number of cases remain at or near zero and so does the deaths, it would be foolish, no suicidal for the country to embark on a mass vaccination process whose outcome may not be certain and whose long term effects can be deadly or , at least detrimental. The pharmaceutical companies have already said persons with pre existing conditions such as diabetes and hypertension should not take the vaccine. They also say persons who take the first part of the vaccine but doesn’t get to take the second part with 20 days will have to start all over. But they don’t know the long term effects of taking the first part of the vaccine twice. Weigh the odds

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JokeyJack 2 months, 1 week ago

From time to time throughout history there come topics which are simply off limits to sensible discussion. Some are even not allowed to be discussed or debated in any way. Covid is one of them and is the most recent member to join the following list of OFF-LIMITS discussions, in reverse date order. It is simply impossible to discuss these topics sanely because everyone has already made up their mind (one way or the other) and is not open to consideration of any kind.

2020 Election Fraud (2020) Covid-19 (2020) The Sale of Uranium via Hillary Clinton's approval (2010) 9-11 Twin Towers attack (2001) Kennedy Assassination (1963) The Holocaust (1938-1945) The Creation of the Federal Reserve (1913)

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ScubaSteve 2 months, 1 week ago

Wow... there are conspiracy theories about the Holocaust???? Please elaborate. Thanks.

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proudloudandfnm 2 days, 11 hours ago

The only actual conspiracy theory I see on the list is the Kennedy assisanation, definitely something fishy there. As for the others. Nah. Just nonsense..

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