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Editorial: Planning As We Wait For A Vaccine

WE do not yet have a COVID-19 vaccination – that much we all know.

But as researchers around the world work on creating a vaccine, we need a plan for how we’re going to buy a vaccine – and how we will distribute it.

Yesterday, Health Minister Renward Wells revealed a plan to pay an initial downpayment of $2m which will secure around 80,000 vaccinations.

Now, that 80,000 is not every Bahamian – and so the obvious question is who will get the vaccine first.

“At the outset what we will do is we will seek to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable,” said Mr Wells, “healthcare workers, along those lines.”

COVID-19 has changed the thinking for many of who is essential in our society. While executives on high salaries work from home and remain in isolation, it is often some of the lowest paid in society who have been on the front lines keeping society going.

Of course, there are the healthcare professionals, and anything that can be done to limit the risk of the people who care for those suffering this illness is of use to us all. The more healthcare workers fit and able to work on the front lines, the better.

But we should also remember the others who have kept things going. The shop workers. The gas station workers. Indeed, as we see children return to school we might find teachers on that list of essential workers.

Many might say well, what about me? But the goal of a vaccine is not just to protect the person who receives it, but those around them too.

Each person who is resistant to the virus is one less opportunity for the virus to spread. If one fifth of the nation is vaccinated, that reduces the risk by a huge amount. It is, however, only the start. Further vaccinations will also be needed – with the goal of reaching something called herd immunity. That is achieved at around 60 to 70 percent of the population having some degree of protection – either through the vaccine or through developing antibodies having caught the virus.

As it stands, we have just over 3,000 confirmed cases, less than one percent of our total population. So between the 80,000 vaccinations and cases, we would have to roughly treble the number of people protected in some fashion to protect the nation as a whole.

Every person protected takes us closer. Every person protected makes it harder for the virus to take hold and put others at risk. The point is that to protect anyone, we need to protect everyone.

We may not have the vaccine yet. But we have a plan – and a place to start.

Shanty towns again

A familiar story is playing out once more on Abaco.

A number of illegal structures have been built, and the government is preparing to evict the residents, possibly displacing hundreds of people.

One area being highlighted is the Farm Road area, where apparently around 200 dwellings have been built since July, swelling the number there to 400.

A few things need to happen – first, the government needs to ensure these properties truly are not legal. We have had too many cases in the past where crackdowns have been announced and then it has turned out that people had rights in one manner or another to the land on which they were building the property.

Abaco has presumably attracted a number of people who are living there in hope of finding work carrying out reconstruction – and as much as the government cracks down on illegal properties, so too should they be cracking down on illegal employers.

We would also ask – given government reassurances of late despite local criticism that there are enough police on Abaco to prevent crime – how on earth did these properties get built unnoticed?

A total of 200 houses built and nobody raised an eyebrow?

We would also remind the government there needs to be a plan for where these people might go – because if you knock the house down but don’t have a plan for the people living in it, then you’ll find another illegal property springing up next month.

We’re not the only ones saying it – one local resident asked the same, saying “Is there any place where these people are going to go and (one MP) said they could stay by friends and other people. And so, (a) pastor said one of the greatest concerns is during this pandemic, you have people all over the place and it’s going to become a panic.”

We sincerely hope every aspect of this has been thought through – rather than just kicking the can down the road, and spreading the virus as we go.

Comments

whogothere 1 month ago

Herd immunity threshold is more like 20-30%. We should have guessed that from a Princess Diamond when virus died out after 19.8% of ship was infected...again through out the usa (not to mention sweden Belarus Nicaragua) we see the miraculous decline in spite of limited lockdowns and no vaccines. ..anyway back to the Bahamas...great so 80,000 number is 20% of the pop - lucky guess..but suspect we are nearing the HIT soon...at least in nassau, probably reach in Gb already though Minnis might like to think his lockdown had something to do with it popular Family island inoculated themselves when spring break rolled in Feb/mar Probably why there aren’t any case in harbour island now or they smart enough to not get test. Spainish well snuck one by look like.

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proudloudandfnm 1 month ago

Where you getting this garbage? Facebook right? We are nowhere near herd immunity, no country is. And the rate is more 60 to 70%. We'd need over 250,000 cases to reach herd immunity and that would mean thousands of deaths.

Please stop spreading stupid facebook theories. Getting your facts from social media is insane. Get help...

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whogothere 1 month ago

It’s called T cell immunity and seroprevalence Studies. Look it up.

Check out New York Seroprevalence 19%-33% then Virus died. Same in Florida. Same across the southern states. Sweden. Belarus. Belgium. all roughly into the same region of anti bodies. Just like the princess diamond cruise ship japan in March, Please try not to be a sheep, Bahamas needs critical thinking don’t believe everything you see on the tv.

Nassau we re looking like we need 46k infections at 25% of pop.Undetected cases are usually aroun 10x to 12x recorded cases. suspect we ll see the recorded numbers go 4600 maybe 5k if that In nassau. But will slow down as we go over the peak like we re seeing gb. (601 recorded so really likely 6k-9k actual as testing isn t as wide spread as Nasau) and we re at 17% and seeing a serious slow down. Bimini is similar story - optimism isn t bad just it’s sad people like don t like to hear it.. or do research to support your fears or challenge them.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month ago

Sorry, I have to agree with Proudloud here. The Seroprevalence surveys are inherently inaccurate. First off Covid has not died off in any of those States or countries that you mentioned.
Secondly, there is currently no reliably accurate Covid serology test, which determines whether a person has the appropriate antibodies. False positives are far too frequent to provide meaningful data. Thirdly, we still don't know whether having Covid antibodies provides protection against getting infected again. And lastly, many of the people tested for Covid antibodies in these surveys were NOT Covid patients. Blood samples from people who had regular blood draws for non-Covid related reasons (annual physical, RA, diabetes etc), were also being tested for possible Covid antibodies. With the prevalence of false positives, this would skew the data.

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whogothere 1 month ago

Seroprevalence are getting better day by day are now in the region of 90% accuracy. We also know somewhere between 30%-60% don’t present symptoms and Are unlikely to get tests therefore presents a considerable unknown. It’s complete plausible to conclude the results are of the studies are within the realm of reason less that likely that they off by that margin given we re seeing exactly the same this across the world. You have countries , regions and states following exactly the same bell shaped curve both with deaths and positivity rates regardless of restrictions, mask policy, lockdowns and all clearly without population infection rates in the 20-30% region. Meanwhile zero evidence of 60% HIT. What if any evidence is there of proud’s figures. Sorry but I think there is none...

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Honestman 1 month ago

I can't help but think that a RELIABLE AND TESTED vaccine is a long way off yet and we shouldn't be creating false hope of its early availability. In the short to medium term, The Bahamas needs to concentrate on EVERYONE understanding how the virus spreads and taking collective action to eradicate it. The Prime Minister of Taiwan was on CNN the other day. They have a population of 25 MILLION and have all but eliminated the virus with a death toll of only 7. But then again they most likely don't have groups congregating around local bars and eateries without face coverings. Too many Bahamians still don't understand how this thing spreads. What will it take for the light switch to go on? Hundreds of Bahamians ending up in the morgue years before their time? Unless, collectively, we behave with a higher degree of intelligence than this virus then that is the scenario we face. Government needs to stop declaring opening dates until this virus is well under control. Wouldn't it be ironic if America gets its act together (post Trump) and their citizens are ready to travel next spring but Bahamas is still considered a hot spot and tourists are diverted elsewhere? The Bahamas needs to get on top of this NOW so that we are ready for AMERICA re-opening.

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whogothere 1 month ago

Taiwan as manufacturing country can afford to close down. There is no choice but for the Bahamas to open sooner and for the better. They only thing holding them back is they are gun shy and worried Bahamians traveling to the US . Economic collapse is imminent... they can t borrow any more money. They can t print any more money. There is no more money for food banks and unemployment benefits. When civil servants start getting pay cuts then the ***t will hit the fan..and for what? tourism aim t the issue... Mexico gets it, Dominican rep Gets it.

Bahamians are not going to the morgue years before their time the virus actuality trends towards natural mortality. That’s why co morbidity play such a crucial role COVID 19. And face covering don’t do much but act as a sponge thats increases the viral load. this thing is so small it sits in the air for about 5 mins after a sneeze leaks out of the germ rag. Virus is going to virus the only salvation is the god given immunity system of the young and healthy...and The reality that thing is only really maybe twice as bad as the flu. The social and economic impact is far far far more devastating,

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proudloudandfnm 1 month ago

Man shut the hell up. You know nothing. Schultz....

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whogothere 1 month ago

Lol we saying we ain’t broke. You saying that you don t know 99% of the cases are mild? And that 99.8% people survive this. Are saying you don t understand that virus is a airborne and mask basically are effective as using a sock as a water bottle? Or maybe you do know this already!? Show us what you know. Because if you know this then you would the biggest threat to Bahamian health is the death of the economy and social systems that depend on it.

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DDK 1 month ago

Meanwhile, is their yet a vaccine against the common cold, another corona virus?

As for the rebuild-up of shanty towns towns which started a soon as Dorians's winds subsided, and spread faster than the corona virus - there is no policing in sight, just many blind eyes, from police, to immigration, to defense force, to housing, to works, to environmental health, to members of parliament, right up to the prime minister!

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month ago

The 'common cold' is just a general term and not a specific virus. There are at least a couple of hundred different viruses (mainly types of rhinovirus, & coronavirus), that produce the symptoms of the 'common cold'. Somewhat of a moving target for a vaccine.

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