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Bahamas eyeing purchase of Covid-19 vaccines

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

The Bahamas plans to reach out to the World Health Organization (WHO) to express interest in the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines once they are licensed and approved.

“My Ministry has undertaken to provide an expression of interest communication to the World Health Organization lead COVAX Facility as a signal of commitment for the purchase of vaccines,” according to Minister of Health Renward Wells who will make a communication in parliament on Wednesday.

172 countries are now engaged in discussions to potentially participate in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved.

COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio - including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other major producers.

“Procurement of the vaccine through the PAHO/WHO ensures that all safety measures are completed prior to becoming available to member state countries,” Wells said.

The Health Minister said the government has used the pooled procurement mechanism of the Revolving Fund to purchase childhood and adult vaccines such as the seasonal flu vaccine for decades with good coverage rates and health outcomes related to vaccine preventable diseases.

“We are confident in the surety of these vaccines,” he said.

According to the WHO, 80 higher-income economies, which would finance the vaccines from their own public finance budgets, submitted Expressions of Interest before the August 31 deadline for confirmation of intent to participate.

They will partner with 92 low- and middle-income countries that will be supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) if it meets its funding targets.

Together, this group of 172 countries represents more than 70% of the world’s population.

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