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Covid-19 Vaccine Available In Bahamas In First Quarter Of 2021

Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan.

By RASHAD ROLLE


Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net 

A COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the Bahamas in the first quarter of 2021, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan assured during a press conference on Friday. 

However, health officials could not give a definitive timeline for a vaccine’s arrival or significant details about the vaccination protocol. 

Though officials say a vaccination strategy has been finalised and approved by Cabinet, the document has not yet been released to the public. 

Dr McMillan said healthcare workers, frontline workers, people who are high risk for catching COVID-19 or succumbing to the disease are prioritised for the vaccination first. She said a phased approach will ensure high-risk groups are immunised, then other groups. 

Asked which of the main three vaccines officials are inclined to buy, Health Minister Renward Wells did not say. 

“We’ve already put down a down payment for 20 percent with the WHO through PAHO’s revolving fund so we’re seeking to secure the vaccine through WHO but The Bahamas government is keeping its options open and looking at its connections with distributors for the approved vaccine,” he said. “The prime minister will be updating the Bahamian people as we go along in regards to how we are progressing with securing the necessary vaccine.” 

For her part, Dr Indira Martin, Director of the National Reference Laboratory, confirmed that the Bahamas does not have the capacity for the genomic sequencing that is necessary to determine if more infectious COVID-19 variants found in the United Kingdom and South Africa are present in the country. She said positive COVID-19 samples will have to be sent to an internationally accredited lab to verify the strain of the virus present in a sample. 

It is not clear what health officials' plan is for determining which samples will be sent to labs for genomic sequencing and when. 

“As we go ahead with our real time PCR testing, we have taken into consideration the need for us to identify certain indicators for us to actually send off specimens to determine whether or not we have any of the variants in the country,” said Dr McMillan.

Infectious disease expert Dr Nikkiah Forbes said it is difficult to distinguish the various strains in clinical settings because they all have the same features. 

“It is very difficult to know that it is here unless you are actively looking for it and you are actively doing testing for it,” she said. “There is no clinical way to distinguish it.”

Earlier Friday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said ongoing mitigation measures will be required to combat effects new variants of COVID-19 if they are found in The Bahamas. 

“The virus is more infectious, not necessarily more devastating in terms of the degree of the illness that it might cause, so one has to follow the same mitigation processes in terms of facial masks, social distancing and sanitation,” he told reporters in Spanish Wells on Friday morning. “I think once we follow that we will be okay. We will monitor the situation."

"We just came out of the Thanksgiving festival. We watched and expected an increase. The increase was marginal but manageable, it did not cause any serious issues. We came out of the Christmas, I think we are coming out of that now, the 14-day (incubation period) and therefore we expected an increase. It’s manageable. We will be watching to see what happens between now and Wednesday because that will be the time we will see the effects.” 

Comments

TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It's bogus dishonest to make such announcements whilst our colony's land and sea points of entry remain wide open to anyone's wishes to come to visit.
It would be insanity even if we had an approved vaccine done here on the ground and an was being injected into the arms of the PopoulacesOrdinary at large (POAL),
Why the F*ck is they waking up just be to be issuing such statements? Shakehead a quick once for upyeahvote, Twice for not?

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GodSpeed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I won't be taking it 🖕 🖕

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Screen_Name 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Good. That will leave more for the sane people.

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GodSpeed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Taking experimental, never before used mRNA vaccines of which NOBODY knows the long terms effects is considered sane now? Ok if you say so Guinea pig 🐹 just don't sue if you get Bell's palsy ...or worse. Oh wait, you can't sue, they're indemnified 😆

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Then don't take any medications if that's how you feel, because that logic applies to all drugs.. Pls note that the vaccine has not been 'approved' for general use by any regulatory body. It has only received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which is very different from the regular approval of medical drugs and devices. How many cases of Bells Palsy have there been so far and how many people have received the vaccine? And, just so you know, Bell's Palsy is a temporary condition unlike death from COVID

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GodSpeed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

But Covid doesn't always kill does it? Last time I checked it had a survivability rate for everyone at 90%+...most of us 99%+ ...in fact there's even a 102 year old woman who got Covid twice and survived. I thank you for you service however, once 70% or so of you get stuck then herd immunity will kick in anyway. But wait...it mutates, so you'll have to get stuck with not just one experimental vaccine but many 🤔 that's like compounding the risk of something going wrong.

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Honestman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

COVID doesn't always kill that's true but you must be aware of the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are suffering serious long term complications following infection. You don't get that with the regular flu.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Oh, and if you don't agree with the vaccine makers being indemnified, do you feel the same about gun manufacturers having the same indemnity ?

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GodSpeed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I think you're comparing apples and oranges. A gun is just a tool, it's as good or as bad as the man using it. An evil or mentally sick man doesn't need a gun to slaughter masses of innocent people, although the mainstream media wants you to feel that way. Take the Nice France truck attack in 2016, 86 people dead and 458 others injured. You won't find a mass shooting in US history even close to those numbers. Should we now be able to sue the maker of the truck because someone used it for evil?.... A rushed and botched vaccine enabled because of a moral hazard is entirely a different case however. Especially when most people are not even properly informed of risk factors.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Exactly, I agree 100% with what you're saying. I just don't understand why a pharma company shouldn't be indemnified for developing something that could, and will, save thousands of lives. As long as they have followed all required regulations & laws, it shouldn't be an issue.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Also, COVID isn't a moral hazard, it's a health hazard. And vaccines are much, much safer than the diseases they protect against.

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benniesun 1 month, 2 weeks ago

TPTB warned that covid would mutate in a few months or so. Well this mutation is just one of the many mutations to come. The official narrative is to get the vaccine and repeat the lockdowns again to flatten any resurgent mutant curve. That is the endless loop which is now the new normal ie the recipe to cure the mutations are more testing, more vaccines and more lockdowns. The inconvenient side effects of a dead economy and persons having no work are of no importance when compared to the noble goal of flattening the curve and saving economically shattered lives.

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KapunkleUp 1 month, 2 weeks ago

What the heck. Stick me already and give me my free candy!

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rodentos 1 month, 2 weeks ago

these vaccines have EMERGENCY authorization only. It is not for broad population immunization stupid. It is same as cancer stuff, you may choose to take some experimental stuff because your other option is to die next 6 months. However covid is completely harmless to mayority of healthy people, so vaccines should not be administered to healthy people.

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pablojay 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I just read that the Queen and Prince Philip recently received their COVID-19 vaccination.

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ohdrap4 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Mean people do not die easy. They live long so they can repent before death.

So, they have nothong to lose.

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John 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The COVID-19 virus should have completely disappeared from The Bahamas by March 2021 and so no need fro a vaccine, provided the Emergency protocols remain in place and the population continues to follow them. There is no strong evidence that this virus affects the same person twice, at least over a short period of time and so once everyone has been infected or exposed to the virus, they become immune, at least in the short term. That is why you no longer see dozens of medical personnel, police officers and other front line workers coming down with the virus. Yes this new strain is more contagious and hence more deadly but it is the final wave. It may not be as potent here because most of the population has been exposed. Unfortunately the US is recording 4,000 deaths a day. The mushroom in cases started with the Trump rallies and were fueled by mass travel during the recent holiday travel. But the US numbers should also start calming down and by summer this virus should have completely disappeared. THAT IS PROVIDED these dozens of vaccines they are rushing to pump up in the population does not have adverse effects and create a new, and possibly a more resistant strain.

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KapunkleUp 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Wow. You must be one of the top scientist at the WHO. All the predictions and data you posted is quite amazing.

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JokeyJack 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Is it true that the CDC said that starting February everyone has to wear a snorkel with their mask?

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KapunkleUp 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It's true but only if you go diving.

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

ATTENTION Our Comrades: No Shirt - No Pants - No Shoes - NO MASKS - Carry Ya Asses...Ya Aint's Goin' Get NO Damn Service!

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shonkai 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Let’s send the invoices to the chinese embassy, for them to pay; no strings attached. Causing all this misery for poor countries and taking no responsibility. They must have some “accidental global plague causing” insurance somewhere. And if not it would be a penny for every citizen.

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