Prime Minister Minnis provides update on arrival and rollout of COVID-19 vaccine (Healthcare workers and eldercare homes to receive first doses)

The rollout of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to begin within days of the arrival of the first batch of vaccines, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Sunday in a live update on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in The Bahamas.

The first 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine – a donation from the Government of India – are expected to arrive in The Bahamas on Wednesday 10 March following a slight delay due to logistical issues overseas. 

Those eligible to receive the first doses will be healthcare workers in the public and private sectors, residents and staff of eldercare 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 defense of the COVID-19 virus and those among the most vulnerable in our population,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

It is expected that healthcare workers may begin booking their vaccination appointments online within days of the arrival of the vaccine.

Healthcare workers will be vaccinated on-site at their respective health institutions.

Residents and staff of eldercare homes will not be required to make an appointment.

Mobile units will be used to vaccinate residents and staff of eldercare homes on-site on New Providence and Grand Bahama.

On the Family Islands, medical teams will administer vaccines to healthcare staff on the island and on-site to residents and staff of eldercare homes.

“Because we are receiving the vaccine doses in smaller batches, we will deviate from the original plan only slightly,” Prime Minister Minnis explained.

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

The Prime Minister said The Bahamas has received a commitment from PAHO that through the COVAX Facility, The Bahamas will receive 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine before the end of March.

These doses are part of the 100,800 doses secured through The Bahamas’ pre-payment to the COVAX Facility that was announced last month.

“We have been informed that the remaining 64,200 doses through COVAX are expected to arrive in The Bahamas by the of May 2021,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

The Prime Minister noted that the vaccines from India were pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and received Emergency Use Listing (EUL) approval by the WHO. The vaccines have also received certification from the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS).

The donation is part of a commitment from India to donate a total of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. 

Prime Minister Minnis thanked the Government of India for the donation on behalf of the Bahamian Government and the people of The Bahamas.