Bahamas Will Only Allow Vaccine if it is Safe

The Bahamas government says it will allow the vaccine developed to treat the coronavirus (COVID-19) to be used in the country, only if it believes it is safe to do so.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in a radio and television broadcast on Sunday that many countries around the world are still struggling to deal with the pandemic that has killed 163 people and infected 7, 549 others in the Bahamas. But he said that the country has done well in dealing with the virus.

“Just as we fought hard to get to this place by aggressively battling a  difficult second wave,  we must work just as hard to guard this success. It is essential that we stay the course and continue to maintain our new case numbers as we await the vaccine,” Minnis said, adding “we will only distribute vaccines if we believe that they are safe.

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“But we must keep in mind that a vaccine will only prevent further infections. It will not cure current infections. Therefore, we must continue to work to control new infections,  especially as it will take time to distribute a  vaccine once it is available in The Bahamas,” Minnis said.

He told the nation that the country continues to mourn those who have died as a result of the virus which has also severely affected the country’s economy.

“This deadly virus and the subsequent and quick collapse of our tourism industry, and the decline in other areas of the economy, has hit Bahamians hard. This includes many of those under 40 and our young people, who are anxious and worried about their future.

“After nearly approximately three years of economic recovery, growth and an increase in jobs,  our economy is in terrible shape because of COVID-19. We have fallen on very tough and rough times. The vast majority of our children and young people have not been able to go back to school for in-person learning.”

Minnis said that many Bahamians have required food and unemployment and social assistance. Many business people, including small business owners, are enduring the worst period they have ever experienced,” he said, noting “yet, amidst the devastation and downturn we continue to endure, there is the promise of a new day and of economic recovery.

“Thanks to promising news on vaccines, the beginning of the end of the pandemic is near. Developed countries such as the  United  Kingdom and the United States are on track to start vaccinations this month.

“But, during this period before vaccines arrive here, we must work extra hard to keep our numbers down,  so that we can continue to restart our economy and to welcome tourists. Though we have many months to go, the light on the horizon is rising,” Minnis said, adding “the sacrifices we have made as a country has paid off”.

He said that as the country enters the holiday season, there is a reason for growing optimism that the economic recovery is broadening. The recent decision by major resorts, such as Atlantis, Baha Marand the Hilton, to reopen their properties will start to restore employment opportunities for the many  Bahamians who have either been furloughed or laid off as a result of COVID-19.


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