The Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, pictured being administered in Morocco in January. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)
• SUNDAY EVENING UPDATE: The latest on this story can be read HERE.
• SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: The Government of The Bahamas has been advised by India that the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines has been delayed until Wednesday 10 March due to logistical issues with the airline overseas. The Prime Minister’s update at 5pm Sunday will air live as previously scheduled.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE Bahamas will receive its first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines Sunday, according to a statement released by Office of the Prime Minister Friday.
This first set consists of a vaccine donation from the Indian government of 20,000 jabs, also known as Covishield.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has thanked the government of India for the donation on behalf of the Bahamian government and people of The Bahamas.
The statement read: “The vaccines were pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and received Emergency Use Listing (EUL) approval by the WHO. The vaccines have also received certification from the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS).
“The donation is part of a commitment from India to donate a total of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.”
Dr Minnis is expected to give a live update on the rollout of this first batch of vaccines on Sunday at 5pm in a nationally televised address.
While government has launched a public campaign on vaccines, Dr Minnis has repeatedly made a strong appeal for all citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
He’s insisted that the country’s economic rebound hinged on widespread administration of the vaccine.
In a nationally televised address last week, Dr Minnis said when a large percentage of Bahamians are vaccinated, more of the country will be able to open up, adding this would spark more jobs among other economic positives.
He said vaccinations will likely be a requirement by other countries to travel overseas and that cruise lines may also have the same stipulation.
Dr Minnis said at the time: “Vaccines are critical to ending the pandemic. In The Bahamas, there will not be a government mandate requiring you to take a vaccine.”
“However, we strongly urge all who are eligible to get vaccinated.
“I will take the vaccine. I will urge family and friends to take the vaccine. By getting vaccinated you will help the country to return to a greater level of normalcy.
“By getting vaccinated you will also help our economy to recover faster. When a large percentage of Bahamians are vaccinated, we will be able to responsibly open up even more.”