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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Jun 23, 2021 - 6:39:07 PM


Ministry of Health, assisted by United States in deploying second set of COVID-19 Vaccines to Family Islands
By Lindsay Thompson
Jun 23, 2021 - 2:10:34 PM

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The Ministry of Health with the support of the United States Government transported a second tranche of COVID-19 vaccine to the Family Islands. The send-off was held at Odyssey Aviation on Monday, June 21, 2021. Pictured interacting with health care workers and volunteers before their departure are: Mrs. Usha Pitts, Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy, Nassau; and the Hon. Renward Wells, Minister of Health. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, The Bahamas - In keeping with its goal to ensure all Bahamians are vaccinated, The Ministry of Health with the support of the United States government transported a second tranche of COVID-19 vaccine to the Family Islands.

The vaccines were transported by the Rhode Island National Guard (RING) (which has the mandate to fight American wars, secure the homeland and build enduring partnerships around the globe).

During the send-off at Odyssey Aviation, June 21, 2021 Minister of Health, the Hon. Renward Wells said: “The    Bahamas    Government    is    most    grateful    for    their willingness to form a partnership through the United States Embassy with our country.   This kind gesture today comes at a time when our country is still vulnerable to the effects of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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The Ministry of Health with the support of the United States Government transported a second tranche of COVID-19 vaccine to the Family Islands. The vaccines were deployed to Kemp’s Bay, Nicholls Town, Fresh Creek and Mangrove Cay in Andros; Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, and Acklins. Mrs. Usha Pitts, Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy, Nassau; and the Hon. Renward Wells, Minister of Health presided over the send-off, which was held at Odyssey Aviation on Monday, June 21, 2021. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Minister Wells observed that The Bahamas, being an archipelagic nation, oftentimes is unable to have Bahamians benefit from resources at the same time.

“When Governmental resources are low, this can be a challenge,” he said.

The vaccines were deployed to Kemp’s Bay, Nicholls Town, Fresh Creek and Mangrove Cay in Andros; Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, and Acklins. Health care workers and international volunteers also traveled to the islands to carry out the vaccine inoculation rollout process.

“At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine is another urgent resource we must ensure Bahamians have access to during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Wells said.
 
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The Ministry of Health with the support of the United States Government transported a second tranche of COVID-19 vaccine to the Family Islands. The send-off was held at Odyssey Aviation on Monday, June 21, 2021. Pictured from L-R: Commander Self, Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché; Mrs. Usha Pitts, Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy, Nassau; the Hon. Renward Wells, Minister of Health; and Christopher Callahan, Commanding General, Rhode Island National Guard. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

During the first tranche of the vaccines received by the COVAX Facility with the assistance of PAHO, The Rhode Island National Guard played a pivotal role a few months ago, in organizing flights to transport vaccines to Bahamians in the Family Islands.

“Although, in    The     Bahamas     receiving     the     COVID-19 vaccination is still not a governmental mandate, we continue to actively encourage all Bahamians to become vaccinated,” the Minster of Health said.

He added, “We recognize that delays in the uptake of the vaccine by those eligible could place our entire Bahamian population at risk.  Risks that not only involve COVID-19 infections, but can result in severe illness and death.

“Vaccinations can eliminate economic   challenges   brought   on   by   measures   taken   to contain   the   spread   of   COVID-19, and   prevent   delays   in restarting our tourism economy.”

Currently, there have been 79,246 doses of the vaccine administered to Bahamians. There will be some 7,640 more doses of vaccines deployed in approximately 13 of the Family Islands this week, Minister Wells confirmed.

On June 22, residents of   Long   Island, Cat   Island, San   Salvador, Exuma, and The Berry Islands will receive COVID-19 vaccine doses. And, Eleuthera and Rum Cay can expect to receive some vaccines on June 23, and Bimini will receive their supply on the June 25.

“This alliance will result in more jabs in arms to get the country back on its feet to open our economy to once again be a thriving nation,” Mr. Wells said.

He thanked the United States Government on behalf of the Prime Minister, who was in the House of Assembly wrapping up the 2021/22 Budget Debate.

Mrs. Usha Pitts, Chargé d'Affaires, a.i., the United States Embassy in Nassau, was present for the send-off, and alluded to the strong partnership between The Bahamas and the United States.

Also present were: Mr. Ed Fields, Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee; Rear   Admiral   Daniel   “Undra” Cheever, Director   of Strategy, Policy and Plans, North American Aerospace Defense     Command     and     United     States     Northern Command; Major General Michelle M.  Rose, Director of Logistics, North American   Aerospace   Defense   Command   and United States Northern Command; Major General Christopher P. Callahan, Adjutant General, Rhode Island Cranston, Rhode Island, and Commander Self, Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché.

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