PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday. Photo: Austin Fernander
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis says plans are underway to set up vaccination sites at school campuses in an effort to get more children inoculated against COVID-19.
Mr Davis gave the comments to reporters after touring several government schools under renovation in the capital yesterday.
He was asked whether his administration planned to lift the mask mandate for children in schools for the new semester.
Currently, children aged five and older are eligible to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
Last month, France donated 24,000 paediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine to The Bahamas through the COVAX facility.
Mr Davis said: “As far as the children is concerned, there are vaccines for children and we have been vaccinating children and as soon as we see the demographics of how many children are vaccinated, we too can consider lifting the masks and I urge again parents to seek to have children vaccinated so that we can move to lifting the masks.
“As you quite pointed out, these are suffocating times because of the heat, and we want to see how we could help to ensure that our children are comfortable in this environment. So, I ask you and I urge you, tell your friends and tell your neighbours and tell anyone who you come into contact with – do get vaccinated to help each one of us to live more comfortably.”
As it relates to the general mask mandate, Mr Davis said he plans to eliminate the public health measure once a certain percentage of the population is vaccinated.
He said he will also consult with health officials.
“The reason I have been urging persons to get vaccinated who have not been vaccinated is because we don’t want an avalanche of sick people that will burst our hospital at the seams again,” Mr Davis added.
“And in keeping with that, the lifting of the mask will happen once I’m satisfied from the experts and the advice from the medical team that has been assembled and working all through the pandemic when they say to me that the level of the percentage of Bahamians vaccinated is such that we can lift the masks and that’s what I’ve been urging persons to see to get themselves vaccinated and then we will look at lifting the masks.”
According to the government’s latest vaccine tracker, more than 170,000 people have been fully vaccinated in The Bahamas to date, while more than 159,000 people have received their first dose.
Earlier this month, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville told reporters the government is hoping to achieve a 70 percent vaccination rate among the public by year’s end.
“One of the things that we’re committed to is the World Health Organisation’s mandate for 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated by the end of the year,” he said at the time.
“It’s out there. Many other Caribbean countries are trying to meet that particular target. The reason why that’s important is because we believe that if we get at that level, it will prevent a large influx of individuals to our hospital systems in the event that we start to see higher instances of COVID in country.”
There have been 36,853 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the country as of August 8. Of that count, 296 cases are still active.