NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas received its first tranche of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines, which will be available for children ages 5 to 11, as the country continues it vaccine rollout programme against the virus.
The vaccines, 24,000 Pfizer doses, arrived in country at the Lynden Pindling International Airport onboard British Airways flight from London to Nassau on Saturday, July 23, 2022. Present for the handover were: the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness, who was accompanied by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis; Dr. Philip Swann, Acting Chief Medical Officer; Nurse Ruth Bastian, Expanded Programme on Immunization Coordinator; Nurse Joyanne Wilson, Expanded Programme on Immunization; Dr. Gina Archer, Chief Pharmacist, Ministry of Health and Wellness; and Dr. Eldonna Boisson, PAHO/WHO Country Representative.
The vaccines, donated from France, were facilitated through the COVAX facility, which continues to supply vaccines to millions around the world. In the region of the Americas, this is supported by the Pan- American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).
Regarding the global response to COVID-19 by world leaders that “No-one is safe until everyone is safe”, the prime minister said that The Bahamas was very appreciative of the vaccines for children donated by France.
Dr. Darville said that the vaccines would be available for children “eligible and willing” to take it, with consent from parents and or guardians. The rollout will begin at vaccination centres across the country; beginning in New Providence on July 28, 2022.
It is being proposed that the vaccines also be administered at schools, with a “very robust protocol” in place, Dr. Darville said. He added that Doctors Hospital and private clinics would be able to administer shots as well.
The government is happy that the vaccines are in country for children, as schools are about open in September for the Fall Semester.
Dr. Eldonna Boisson, PAHO/WHO Country Representative, congratulated the government for recognizing the need and providing access to these vaccines for children. “Soon the country’s children will prepare to return to school and it is vital to protect them from the virus,” she said in a statement released.
She too encouraged parents and guardians to register their children at their preferred clinic to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, which will offer a level of protection from the virus.
Vaccination against the COVID-19 virus is not to be confused with the customary immunizations administered to children in the national programme that has been in place for many years before they enter school, the Expanded Programme on Immunization Coordinator explained.