HIGH DEMAND, SHORT SUPPLY: Some manufacturers unable to provide Bahamas with vaccines until 2022, says Brennen

 While the government is working to secure additional batches of COVID-19 vaccines, some manufacturers may not be able to provide The Bahamas with doses until 2022, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen.

During a Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) town hall meeting yesterday, Brennen noted that bilateral agreements are ongoing with the government of The Bahamas and vaccine manufacturers.

“Many of them, because of the contracts and the arrangements they have with some of the bigger economies, they are not making vaccines available until well into 2022,” he said.

“…It does not mean at some point we might not be able to get access to those other vaccines, but for right now we are using what we have access to, to make sure that we can protect our population as best as possible.”

The Bahamas received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines  from the Indian government last week.

Another 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to arrive in-country before the end of March from the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization COVAX Facility.

Those doses are part of the 100,000 doses secured through The Bahamas’ pre-payment to the COVAX Facility.

The remaining doses through COVAX are expected to arrive in the country by the end of May 2021.

Brennen noted that the government has also had conversations with Johnson & Johnson, whose Janssen vaccine only requires one dose, but was advised that The Bahamas will not be able to get any supply from them until 2022.

The Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses between four and 12 weeks apart.

The vaccine has been found to be 76 percent effective against the virus after the first dose and the efficacy rises to 82 percent after the second.

Director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme Dr Nikkiah Forbes noted at the town hall meeting that a booster shot for the vaccine may be required.

Forbes said scientists are currently reviewing the matter, given immunity periods and other factors, but “the reality of the situation is looking very likely that we will require boosters”.

The government has maintained its plan to use the first batch to provide 20,000 Bahamians with their first vaccination, while assuring the public that additional vaccines required for the second batch would arrive within the recommended time.

Several European Union countries have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as a precaution after reports of some patients developing blood clots.

However, health experts have said there is no evidence the blood clots were related to the vaccine.

Source: ewnews

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