First Vaccines For Key Staff

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

Minister of Health Renward Wells.


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE country’s most vulnerable population, including medical workers, will be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, Health Minister Renward Wells said Monday, as he revealed the government will have to pay an initial $2m down payment to secure 80,000 vaccinations.

Speaking during his ministry’s COVID-19 press conference, Mr Wells said the Pan American Health Organisation will secure the vaccines, suggesting it was acting as an intermediary to ensure smaller nations can acquire it as first world countries are in a better financial position to secure them.

“The Pan American Health Organisation is going to secure any potential COVID vaccine for the Bahamas,” Mr Well said when asked about the government’s plan to acquire vaccines.

“The World Health Organisation has required that all countries that would be seeking the COVID-19 vaccine, one that has the capacity to be able to do what we expect it to, that every country put a down payment so to speak to ensure that at least 20 percent of its population (can receive it).

“The Cabinet of the Bahamas has taken a decision to move forward with that.

“We do secure our vaccines through the WHO via PAHO and we’re guaranteed to receive enough vaccines in the first tranche to vaccinate 20 percent of our population, which if you’re looking at 400,000 persons is about 80,000 individuals.

“The overall cost is going to be somewhere in the area of perhaps $2m initially and at the outset what we will do is we will seek to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable — healthcare workers, along those lines.

“But because there is such a demand for a potential COVID vaccine, and you understand that first world countries, because their monies are long and deep, have the capacity to be able to purchase upfront more so, but the World Health Organisation is securing and ensuring that all countries have an opportunity to receive the vaccine and there is a global agreement among all countries that we will receive at least 20 percent initially to secure our populations.”

On Monday officials said confirmed cases in the country now stand at 2,974. Of that number, 1,344 have recovered, with 1,545 cases active. Additionally, 72 of the active cases are in hospital.

The bulk of cases are in New Providence where there have been 2,113 confirmed cases. Grand Bahama follows with 597, Abaco 100, Bimini 54, Exuma 24, Inagua 17, Berry Islands 15, Eleuthera 12 and eight each on Cat Island and Long Island, seven on Acklins, five in Crooked Island, three in Andros, three in Mayaguana and 108 cases with pending locations.

There have been 75 deaths from COVID-19 and eight are under investigation. Of the deaths, 45 or 69 percent were in New Providence, 14 or 22 percent in Grand Bahama and three percent in Bimini. Officials said 130 children or adolescents have tested positive, accounting for four percent of overall cases.

Also at the press conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan revealed that in this second wave of COVID-19, there were 27 times more cases than the first round of cases.

Dr McMillan said New Providence now accounts for the largest number of new COVID-19 cases each day, with data showing that cumulative cases continue to reflect increases in the capital.

However, she said, new cases on the island have been on a decline. On average for the last week, Dr McMillan revealed that 40 new cases are being reported in New Providence per day.

“Specifically by island, for New Providence which has the highest population density we had 76 cases in the first wave. At this point in the second wave COVID-19 cases now stand at 1,797, which is almost 24 times more than the total cases seen in the first wave.

“Grand Bahama recorded a total number of eight cases in the first wave. So far for this wave our second city has a total of 603 cases, which is 75 times more than their total cases in the first wave.

“Bimini had four times more total cases in the second wave compared to the first.

“The first wave we confirmed cases only on three of our islands. On the contrary during this wave, COVID-19 has impacted a larger proportion of our Family Islands and cays as referenced on the Ministry of Health’s dashboard.”

She said contact tracing continues, with officials identifying almost 8,000 connections in the second wave.

The ministry continues to retool the process to ensure the shortest possible time between confirmation of a positive test result and notification of a newly diagnosed case, Dr McMillan said.

While there continues to be new cases almost daily, officials have repeatedly touted the success of the latest lockdown in Grand Bahama.

However, asked if officials made the right decision to reopen most businesses in New Providence despite rising cases, Dr McMillan said lockdowns are not sustainable.

“Whether or not we opened everything or just a few things certainly what we require to happen as we move forward is that we follow the necessary public health measures in order to decrease the likelihood of spread.

“I think we often say when we are asked a question like that that public health must always take into consideration other things that are happening in a particular environment and there has to be a balance. We would have had a number of lockdowns, we had curfews, we had a number of very restrictive to minimally restrictive measures put in place early on and we did fairly well.

“Doing those things indefinitely is not sustainable so we have to balance the public health measures alongside the economic and the social measures and challenges that come along with the lockdowns,” Dr McMillan said.


benniesun 1 month ago

Our most valuable and deserving citizens are our government ministers and our medical professionals. They should be protected by the vaccine first - before anyone else. Then we wait five or ten years to make sure the vaccine works and have no unwanted side effects before we voluntarily line up the rest of the population for theirs. Now who is going to guarantee us - in writing - that there will be no adverse side effects?


Cobalt 1 month ago

Make sure give Brave Davis the first dose. He looks like a guinea pig anyway.


themessenger 1 month ago

Guinea pig first cousin, a rare and endangered Cat Island Rock Hutia, but still a rodent by any other name. Lol!!


KapunkleUp 1 month ago

Normal people experiencing side effects might include: Headache, nausea, twitching of eyes, runny nose, increased flatulence, inability to drive in a straight line and feeling of euphoria.

Politicians experiencing side effects WILL include: delusions of grandeur, inability to balance the budget, loss of common sense, ability to speak out of two holes and narcissistic tendencies.


ohdrap4 1 month ago

Let the politicians go first. I will take my chances with my mask.


joeblow 1 month ago

Seems more sensible to do antibody testing on a larger percentage of the population. Those who have already been infected with the virus don't need a vaccine! Then give it to the politicians first and wait two weeks. If no deaths or illness then consider the elderly and those with medical conditions who are antibody negative next!


SP 1 month ago

Wow, tons of comments were deleted from this blog!!


PoompassMan 1 month ago

someone lying and thiefing , 80,000 vaccines at $2 million dollars is $25 per dose ..

yet the world news media says a dose only gonna cost about $4 a dose , why is Mr shifty Contract Signer Wells saying he paying $25 a dose , dont sound right

Last week, Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N told Reuters it is in talks for vaccine deals with the European Union, Japan and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. [L2N2EN1FW]

Some drugmakers, including J&J, have announced plans to price their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis while the pandemic is ongoing, although J&J has not provided specifics on pricing.

AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L agreed to provide the United States 300 million doses of the vaccine it is developing with Oxford University researchers in exchange for $1.2 billion in upfront funding.

Although the cost per dose comes out to around $4 - far less than what Pfizer and BioNTech would receive - AstraZeneca can use some of that funding to offset research and development costs even if its vaccine ultimately fails.

Reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Editing by Peter Henderson and Bill Berkrot




tribanon 1 month ago

Our Competent Authority should receive at least a triple dose of the first vaccine available in recognition of the great success in protecting both our people and our economy from the devastating effects of the Communist China Virus.


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