Health officials on hand for arrival of Pfizer Vaccines

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The shipment of Pfizer vaccine arrived Thursday, August 12, 2021 at Jet Nassau, as The Bahamas continues to rollout its vaccination programme against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pictured from L-R are: Nurse Gina Ferguson-Rose, Community Health Nurse, Expanded Programme on Immunization; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan; Viana Gardiner, COO, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Office of the Prime Minister; Minister of Health the Hon. Renward Wells; Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis; US Chargé d'Affaires Usha E. Pitts, US Embassy, Nassau; Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield; and Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM, His Excellency Reuben Rahming. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Provided by Bahamas Information Services

The Minister of Health the Hon. Renward Wells was on hand for the arrival of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine, which will boost The Bahamas national vaccination programme in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccines, some 128,700 doses, arrived by flight at Jet Nassau on Thursday morning, August 12, 2021. The delivery comprised the first tranche of an expected 397,000 total doses donated by the United States Government to The Bahamas through the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The US Government is delivering nearly 837,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Caribbean nations.

Meeting the shipment were: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis; Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield; U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Usha E. Pitts, US Embassy, Nassau; Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM, His Excellency Reuben Rahming; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan; Viana Gardiner, COO, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Office of the Prime Minister; and Nurse Gina Ferguson-Rose, Community Health Nurse, Expanded Programme on Immunization.

The Bahamas is one of the first countries among Caribbean nations to receive, what the Prime Minister regarded as a “generous donation” from the United States.

“Today marks a significant moment and turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Receiving this first in a series of batches of the Pfizer vaccine will meet the demand for vaccines for the Bahamian people.” The vaccines arrived on the heels of the debate in the House of Assembly on a Resolution to Extend the Emergency Powers Order, pertaining to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The measure was moved by the Prime Minster and seconded by Minister Wells. During his contribution, the Minister of Health underscored the importance of being vaccinated.

“Vaccinations, a key public health tool for ending this pandemic, are now available. Ending the pandemic, however, requires more of us rolling up our sleeves to receive the vaccine,” he said. The Minister observed that human beings have benefitted from vaccines for more than two centuries; beginning with Edward Jenner’s creation of the world’s first vaccines for small pox in the 1790s. He further stated that there is overwhelming scientific consensus that vaccines are a very safe and effective way to fight and eradicate infectious diseases. During the 19th Century, vaccines were developed for rabies, tetanus, typhoid fever and bubonic plague and in the 20 th Century for tuberculosis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, pertussis (whooping cough), yellow fever, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox, among others. And more recently in the 21 Century, vaccines were developed for HPV (human
papillomavirus), dengue fever, Ebola and now COVID-19.

“Vaccines have conquered infectious diseases and saved lives, longer than many of us have been on this earth. The process for vaccine development and getting vaccines to market is tried and true. No steps were bypassed or eliminated in making the COVID-19 vaccines now being used to conquer the SARS-CoV-2 virus, now wreaking havoc on the globe,” Mr. Wells said.

He added, “In a pandemic such as we are in, increased resources, enhanced collaborations across global vaccine makers and utilizing multiple technologies, all previously used to provide lifesaving vaccines or medication, sped up the process. But I repeat, no steps were bypassed or omitted. These vaccines are safe and effective.”

Currently, in The Bahamas, over 108,506 persons have taken the vaccine, with more than 47,580 fully vaccinated and some 62,863 having at least one dose since rollout of the vaccination campaign on 14th March 2021. The Minister however urged the public to remain committed in doing its part: resist the urge to gather in crowds or with others who do not live in their home; wear your masks covering mouth and nose, sanitize and wash hands frequently, and remain physical distant.

Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccine will be available to adults 18 and older, and to children 12 to 17 years old with the consent of a parent or guardian. And, some 38,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be in country at the end of this month (August 2021), the Minister revealed.

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