Editorial: Talk Of Herd Immunity Is Premature

THE sun always shines in the world of Renward Wells.

As he drives to work, we suspect rainbows fill the skies and mermaids wave to him from the seas. Everything is wonderful – at least in his reality.

The Health Minister said he believes The Bahamas will achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 by the time the country enters the summer season.

Bold talk!

Bullishly, he said: “Through the COVAX facility we’re supposed to get over 100,000 doses of the vaccines. We are right now looking at ways that we can source more AstraZeneca but given the fact of the amount of Bahamians who have already been exposed to COVID, you do the math, it says a lot of Bahamians have already been exposed based on the fact that we are about 8,700 positive.”

We are due to receive 100,000 doses from the COVAX facility – but only 33,600 doses are imminent. The rest, 64,200 doses, are not expected to arrive until the end of May.

How on Earth are we to achieve herd immunity by the start of the summer if the vaccines aren’t arriving until the day before summer starts?

Even that full 100,000 – added to the 20,000 from India – won’t be enough to reach the levels of immunity needed to protect the whole nation. All those who have received their first vaccination will also need a second dose before we get anywhere near the herd immunity Mr Wells suggests. It’s just three months away.

Experts estimate that somewhere between 70 percent and 85 percent of the population must be protected to suppress the spread – and with what we have, and what we are promised, isn’t enough to get us there.

Unless Mr Wells knows about a substantial number of doses coming our way soon, then the math doesn’t support his claim that herd immunity is just around the corner.

Does he know about extra vaccines? When asked, he said: “Bahamians can be assured that just like we brought in vaccines that we are going to get additional vaccines and continue our wonderful, excellent vaccination programme that is now underway in The Bahamas.”

That sounds like a no. Or perhaps a “we’re working on it”, plus some more rainbows and unicorns in the world where the vaccination programme is wonderful and excellent and not just starting out. Make no mistake, it’s made a solid start, but let’s not oversell it.

After all, the problem is that if you do pretend everything is wonderful and you minimise the threat of the virus, you might just make people think there’s nothing to worry about any more and out they go and catch COVID-19. You might put people off getting the vaccination because they think it doesn’t matter if we really are close to herd immunity. You also risk looking foolish.

In February last year, then US President Donald Trump said that the virus was “a problem that’s going to go away” and went on to say “…when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done”.

He even said last February: “It’s going to disappear. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”

The US has, of course, suffered 543,000 deaths since then.

Mr Wells could have given firmer answers on when we can expect the extra doses. But until we have those doses, we are a long way from reaching the herd immunity he talks about.

We invite Mr Wells to present his math – and as our teachers always used to say, show your work.

Same as it ever was

Be bold.

That’s the challenge from the Inter-American Bank to the government on raising infrastructure spending.

Did we really need to be told that? As we look around our country, can we not see the wilted and faded parts of our country that are in dire need of sprucing up?

How long have we heard about the need for airport improvements, for public transport improvements, and more?

The bank’s report even challenges the government to use the momentum created by the twin crises of Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19 to bring change. That sounds good, but many in areas hit by Hurricane Dorian will say there’s not a lot of momentum to be seen.

So, yes, being bold is a good idea to revive our nation. But then again, it always was.


whogothere 3 weeks, 4 days ago

This is a seasonal virus that will mutate every year just like the flu. There will be good waves and bad waves...but herd immunity is never coming...


Bobsyeruncle 3 weeks, 4 days ago

It's been a long season then. Flu season doesn't last anywhere near as long as COVID has. The time of the year for Flu season is also different depending on which hemisphere you live in. COVID has been in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres CONSTANTLY for over a year now.


whogothere 3 weeks, 4 days ago

So how many times have you taken a flu test? The only thing different is the goal posts changed. I ve taken 7 COVID tests maybe more in the last 6 months. Cdc ili networks can only link around 20% of ili s to flu...prior to 2020. the only reason COVID appears to be around all the time you have to do a test for it to do anything. Irrespective of the ‘constant’ presence of covid there is definite seasonal increases that coincide in similar regional areas. Now how do u explain the increase and decline of covid cases in multiple regions coinciding regardless of vaccine immunization levels, mask mandates or lockdowns?


tribanon 3 weeks, 3 days ago

It's all about the money for Big Pharma, population control for Big Government, and domination of the world for the Big Communist Chinese Party (CCP). And just think, the very sinister and ruthlessly evil CCP, along with certain of their superwealthy friends (e.g. Gates), absolutely relish the idea of Big Government controlled vaccination programmes being able to choose who gets to live and who must die from the worldwide spread of lab created deadly 'gain-of-function' viruses. Not a pleasant thought by any stretch of one's imagination!


whogothere 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Exactly - in 2019 just over million flu tests were done in the entire year in the USA. Now there is around a million COVID tests done EVERY DAY in the USA! Quite a racket...


ohdrap4 3 weeks, 3 days ago

you do the math

80% of 400000 is 320000.

120000 receive one dose , reducing the efficacy to 50% or more.

The other 200000, well, they get immunity by being exposed and surviving.

There is no cheque in the mail for anymore vaccines.

The greatest shortcoming of humanity is its inability to understand percentages, that is why he told US to do the math.

If he did the math himself, the poker face would be gone. 🤯


newcitizen 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Why has the government not secured anymore doses than the 120,000 for India and Covax? Vaccine sales started almost 9 months ago. What has the government done to procure the remaining vaccines for the rest of the population? The US is getting vaccinated and beginning to open up. People are going to want to travel. We need to get our vaccinations up so that we can be a host to the pent up travel demand. We are losing more every single day in country revenue than the cost of vaccinating the entire population. The government is spending money left and right and they can't get themselves together enough to spend some on actually getting our country back to normal. And then they have the nerve to tell us the light is at the end of the tunnel. What kind of operation are they running?


whogothere 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Florida opened up before vaccinations and has done no worse than California. Vaccinations is short term solution with many unknowns at best. Will immunisation last, for how long, what side effects, what is the true efficacy rate, which age group is truly effective for? Questions the media doesn't really enjoy asking they would normally for any other type of pharmaceutical product....I wonder why...


proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Florida is a petrie dish. What are you talking about???


tribanon 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Keep saying that as Florida eats the Bahamas's tourist lunch. Ron DeSantis loves you! LOL


newcitizen 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I think you meant to post this on Facebook. Go back and get some more fake news before you get withdrawal.


whogothere 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Gents go do some homework for once instead of spouting off ...Sigh...

One locked down one didn't but almost the same outcome in terms of death per capit.. 153 ver 147 per million, 25th and 28th on the list way below NY and New Jersey that also lock down hard.


Petri dish !? Don't make sneeze.. Guess who's no 2 on the seropravetlence list on the US? You guessed it California.

But please keep watching CNN. And before you ask I'm not Fox News fan and I'm not Facebook floater either. ;)


observer2 3 weeks, 3 days ago

India has stopped exporting vaccines.

Europe has stopped exporting vaccines.

We better secure the Chinese or Russian vaccines.


tribanon 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Surely Minnis can persuade his Communist Chinese friends to give us all of the 'freebie' vaccines our country needs. Of course, the more significant cost down the road would be an even greater loss of our civil rights and liberties.


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