By INIGO ‘NAUGHTY’ ZENICAZELAYA
I could go so many ways this week; the material has been in abundance.
However, after seeing Bahamians descend en masse upon vaccination centres across the island, of course, it grabbed my attention. I had to find out what was causing increased interest in vaccines all of a sudden?
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad to see Bahamians making the responsible choice to get vaccinated. Better late than never, as the old saying goes.
But I still have to ask myself what’s the real reason for the sudden shift towards vaccines.
I know my people. Is the information provided regarding vaccines and their efficacy rates and availability that’s causing the uptick in vaccinations?
Well, that information has been circulating internationally and locally for a while now. It gets updated regularly since the inception of the vaccines becoming a viable option in the fight against COVID.
I know we are famous globally for being “on Bahamian time”.
However, this recent phenomenon has nothing to do with us as a nation finally buying into accurate vaccine information and the latest advice from medical professionals.
No, sir, collectively as a nation, we are too enthralled with conspiracy theories and fake news to ever “catch sense” that quickly.
The various “D Average” factions that exist in our communities simply won’t allow it.
Then it happened. I came across a particular press release from the US Embassy here in Nassau.
As announced by the White House on September 20, beginning in early November, all adult foreign nationals travelling to the United States by air must demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
At a recent press briefing, the US will open up the country to non-citizens starting in November under a “new international air travel” system, White House Covid-19 Response Co-ordinator Jeff Zients said.
International travellers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding US-bound planes in addition to a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of the flight, according to Zients.
Zients elaborated in more in detail at the presser, adding: “International travel is critical to connecting family and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, that’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel.”
With these new requirements in place, fully vaccinated visitors will not need to quarantine upon arrival in the country. However, airlines are asked to collect the information of travellers for contact tracing purposes, Zients said.
American travellers also will be subject to stricter requirements and will need to take a coronavirus test both a day before they leave the US and when they return.
After some more research, my conclusion is that there are certain things my fellow Bahamians cannot do without.
Walmart is one, and post-Thanksgiving Black Friday Sales is the other.
We will suffer through curfews, lockdowns, social distancing protocols, etc., but we will not be denied trips to Florida, Walmart shopping, and the “Black Friday” experience.
I suspect that is why vaccination centres are being overrun with citizens wanting the “jab”.
The call of “attention Walmart shoppers” and “save up to 90% off” is luring Bahamians out of their COVID funk. Especially Bahamians with a penchant for travel and shopping.
I’m happy to know that many of us finally found the motivation to get vaccinated.
With 98 infections per 100K people reported over the last seven days and 21,580 infections on top of over 600 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began, we need as many Bahamians vaccinated as possible. The Bahamas has administered at least 224,531 doses of COVID vaccines so far.
Assuming every person needs two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 28.8% of the country’s population, it’s getting there, but still not where we need to be.
I’m thinking a Bahamasair’s ‘Black Friday’ shopping junket along with some ‘blue light’ specials at Walmart in November should push us over the required number of citizens to be vaccinated and get us to the desired “herd immunity” status that the Bahamas has been seeking.
Can you imagine how far along we would have been as a nation if I would have thought of this sooner?
My apologies to the new ‘Gussie Mae’ cabinet and “Jeromie the Homie” had me distracted.