Two more victims of COVID

THE nation’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 185 after two more deaths were recorded.

The latest deaths involve two New Providence women: a 62-year-old who died on March 7 and a 57-year-old who died on March 8.

Fifteen other deaths are currently under investigation.

Meanwhile, only one new case was recorded on Monday bringing the overall case count to 8,642.

The new case is an Abaco resident.

This comes as the country awaits the arrival of the first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Twenty thousand doses of the drug are set to arrive in the country today, a gift from India.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the government is expected to receive 33,600 doses out of 100,800 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine purchased through the World Health Organisation’s/Pan American Health Organisation’s COVAX facility “before the end of March”.

The remaining 64,200 doses should be in the country by the end of May, he said.

Dr Minnis said because the government is receiving vaccine doses in “smaller batches”, his administration has to slightly deviate from the previously announced plan.

Those eligible to receive these first doses will now be: healthcare workers in the public and private sectors; residents and staff of elder care homes; and non-ambulatory residents registered in the public health system.

“This first and critical priority group includes those who are our first line of defence against the COVID-19 virus and those among the most vulnerable in our population,” Dr Minnis said.

“It is expected that healthcare workers may begin booking their vaccination appointments online within days of the arrival of the vaccine. Details on how the appointment process will work will be published within the next few days.”

It had been previously announced that uniformed branch members; frontline workers; critical workers in high-risk settings and other essential services would also be in the priority group to receive the first vaccines, however this appears to have changed due to the smaller batches being shipped in.

The roll out of the first 20,000 doses is expected to begin days after the arrival of the vaccine.

“A phased approach must be applied to all islands in this first batch,” Dr Minnis said. “At this stage, vaccines will be administered in phases on New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.”


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