Cold storage equipment for vaccine to arrive soon


HEATHER MATURIN, Ochsner BR phamacy director, unpacks the vials of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be used into the refrigerator at Ochsner Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last month. Photo: Bill Feig/The Advocate via AP



COLD storage equipment to facilitate COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in The Bahamas shortly, Health Minister Renward Wells told The Tribune yesterday.

Mr Wells, elated at the drop in the country’s COVID infection numbers, also promises that the Vaccine Act, which came into effect in the mid-1800s, will be amended in Parliament to make it more suitable for modern times without losing its structure.

Mr Wells said: “We have not selected a particular vaccine as yet, but we are looking to move with the approved vaccines by WHO and the CDC. There are three of them that have been approved – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. It’s among those. We are also looking at the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that is the final clinical trial stages. We assume over the next week or two weeks that will be approved.

“So we are going with approved vaccines. Pfizer has a cold storage issue and the government has resolved it. We will be having our cold change storage equipment in (the) country very soon. The Vaccine Act was passed on April 12, 1860. It’s an Act that simply says that only the minister can appoint vaccinators. It was really to address the Smallpox vaccine at the time. Even though the Vaccine Act needs to be updated, the structure of the Act is still quite sound.”

On the subject of the Vaccine Act, the idea Mr Wells said, is to not only to make it modern, but to use it to protect citizens who will be receiving the vaccines, cutting out unauthorised people who would want to weigh in on the distributions for whatever reasons.

The positive thing for Bahamian citizens, the minister said, is that receiving these vaccines will not be mandatory.

He continued: “In regards to the Act, we still want to ensure that it’s only the minister of health who can appoint vaccinators. You don’t want to have anyone purchasing vaccines from anywhere around the world and someone just getting a syringe and giving someone a shot. So it’s only approved persons who are trained in giving vaccines would be able to vaccinate persons.

“It’s just the updating part of the Act with the penalties side, bringing it more into the 21st century in regards to the other vaccines that have come on stream and the government’s position on vaccines. And, as we said to the Bahamian people it is voluntary to them and it’s free to them. The government has not made any other vaccine mandatory and we are keeping with that particular policy.”

According to Minister Wells, the Ministry of Health will not only deal with the World Health Organisation and the Pan American Organisation in obtaining vaccines, but it has also been in direct talks with pharmaceutical companies that are manufacturing the vaccines.

It has been previously reported that a down payment has been made for a vaccine.

He said: “We are speaking directly to manufacturers of the vaccines. We have been doing so since December. From Pfizer and Moderna were approved in the United States we have been speaking directly to them seeking to be able to obtain the vaccine. That work is in progress.

“While we are going through WHO, we have put a down payment on WHO/PAHO vaccine, we are also going directly to the manufacturers as well. The government of The Bahamas will do what it needs to in regards to paying for the vaccine. It is important to us to be able to have that vaccine and to have it deployed in order to open up our economy so that we can get people back to work.”

On several occasions, PAHO has promised vaccines will arrive in the region by March of this year.


JokeyJack 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure them super cold storage units for the Pfizer vaccine are super expensive. The invoices for their purchase will probably be super invisible too.


Amused 3 years, 3 months ago

It's obvious which vaccine they are choosing if they are insisting on getting cold storage freezers. One or two of the vaccines approved doesn't require that, just regular refrigeration but hey we love to spend $$$$$$$$$$$$$$


realitycheck242 3 years, 3 months ago

what if citizens want the Russian Sputnik-V , or the chineese sinovac vacine ???


proudloudandfnm 3 years, 3 months ago

I will be in line to get a vaccine. But. If the Bahamian government buys the Pfizer vaccine I will not get vaccinated in the Bahamas, at 100 below zero the Bahamian government is incapable of properly storing it. They delude themselves if they actually think they can manage the Pfizer vaccine....


rodentos 3 years, 3 months ago

they cant handle -30 to properly store the dead bodies on Abaco, sad but true. Now make your conclusions on vaccine


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