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News Report: IT’S NOT A COMPETITION:Focus should remain on getting vaccine program right, says Chair

Written by Royston Jones Jr. - Eyewitness News, March 17, 2021

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chairperson Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson said yesterday it is not a “competition” for The Bahamas to access COVID vaccines, as the focus should remain on “getting it right”.

This notwithstanding other countries in the region receiving vaccine doses since last month and Jamaica being the first to get its allotment of vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) COVAX Facility.

“My thoughts on that is one where, when looking at strategies like this — and we’ve not had to deal with something like this for 100 years globally, so for the country, we have not had to deal with something like this before… — I would say that it is not an element of competitiveness,” Rutherford-Ferguson told Eyewitness News.

“You just have to make sure it’s done right and done well.

“I think the emphasis should be placed on efficiency and effectiveness and so long as the strategy permits enough of the population [to be vaccinated], that is where we should all be focused because ultimately we cannot afford any missteps in this exercise.”

Businesses in The Bahamas have been significantly impacted over the last year as a result of the restrictions associated with the pandemic in-country and overarching stalled global economies.

According to Ferguson, businesses by and large can now operate with few restrictions — a feat achieved as a result of Bahamians taking individual and collective responsibility to adhere to health protocols.

The effort and associated strategies have ensured COVID-19 numbers remain low in The Bahamas.

The government received a donation of 20,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines from India last Wednesday.

It said the batch met all requirements set by the WHO.

The National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee began administering those doses on Sunday.

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