Nassau, April 2023 - (PAHO/WHO) The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands Country Office supported the Ministry of Health and Wellness Vaccination Week in The Americas 2023 activities. Like many countries in the region, The Bahamas experienced a decline in routine vaccinations since the dawning of the COVID-19 pandemic. To increase the vaccine rate, the team organized activities to engage the community.
Celebrations commenced with a special church service at the Church of God of Prophecy East Street, on the island of New Providence. Dr. Pearl McMillan, Chief Medical Officer, Government officials, and members of the healthcare community were in attendance.
On Monday, health professionals took to the airwaves to advocate for vaccinations. The listening and viewing audiences were encouraged to participate in the country’s national childhood catch-up campaign. During the various media interviews, the public was reminded of the historic numbers The Bahamas previously achieved through vaccinations and the importance of reaching those numbers to protect the vulnerable persons within the community.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, health professionals took to the streets for with a two-day community walk-about Bain and Grants Town Communities and Coconut Grove Community. Residents were challenged to get themselves and loved ones vaccinated as vaccinations are safe and they save lives.
On Thursday, Nurse Ruth Bastian was honoured for serving The Bahamas for more than 40 years. A Retirement Luncheon was held for Nurse Ruth Bastian under the theme "We Salute Ruth". Nurse Bastian has served many islands in the archipelago. Prior to retiring, Nurse Bastian served as the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Manager. Considered courageous by many, Nurse Bastian was the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in The Bahamas. She continued to lead the charge in the country and reassured residents of the vaccine’s safety. In attendance were the Former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, State Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training, Hon. Zane Lightbourne, other government officials and members of the healthcare community.
On Friday, an EPI seminar was hosted. Participants included representatives from various departments and islands.
Concluding the events, Immunization Fair was held during the Red Cross Fair at Arawak Cay Heritage Site. The Red Cross Fair is an annual national charitable fair where the sales of good and services are used to support the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. The fair provided an opportunity to reach the masses and provide access to safe vaccines in a fun environment because #EachVaccineCounts.