Nassau, Bahamas, March 30, 2021 (PAHO/WHO) – The Bahamas today received 33,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility, a global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The arrival marks a historic step toward ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, in the largest vaccine procurement, and more vaccines are expected to arrive successively during 2021. According to the first round of COVAX allocations, The Bahamas is expected to receive additional doses in May until it reaches 100,800, the amount specified by COVAX.
PAHO’s Revolving Fund, which is responsible for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the countries of the Americas under the COVAX Mechanism, sent 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. The vaccines arrived today at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
Dr Eldonna Boisson, PAHO/WHO Country Representative for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands stated, “The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool in our fight against the COVID-19 virus and will help to save lives and eventually halt the pandemic. However, once the virus is still circulating, we must maintain the public health measures that we know limit our exposure to the virus, sticking to the protocols that we have been practicing for many months now – physical distancing, limiting gatherings, the consistent use of masks in public settings, frequent handwashing and not touching our faces. These are tried and tested measures that work in reducing the number and spread of COVID-19 infections. As we approach the Easter Holidays let us keep these things in mind and keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.”
Prime Minister Most Honourable Dr. Hubert Minnis reminded the public “If we continue to practice the preventative health measures and at the same time vaccinate more people, we will move even quicker toward a broader reopening of our country.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in The Bahamas, the country has recorded 9,119 cases and 188 deaths as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
COVAX seeks to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country during 2021. In this first round of vaccine allocation, all COVAX participating countries will receive doses to vaccinate between 2.2 and 2.6% of their population. The only exceptions are small island developing States, which will receive an allocation of vaccines to cover between 16 and 20% of their population, due to the high logistical cost of delivering small quantities of vaccines.
At this time, basic public health measures remain the basis of the pandemic response. For public health authorities, this means continuing to conduct screening, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine, and quality care. And for the public, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, the use of masks, adequate ventilation of indoor environments, and avoidance of crowded spaces.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. In the Americas, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX facility.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system.