Bahamas government working to secure monkeypox vaccine

By Rumi Samuel Published on July 28, 2022
Bahamas government working to secure monkeypox vaccine

While noting that the homosexual community remains at “a high risk”, Minister of Health Dr Michael Darville said yesterday that the government is negotiating with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to obtain the monkeypox vaccine.

“We are in discussions with PAHO,” Darville said.

“They have agreed in principle for us to have them in the country. I will get back to the director of PAHO, Dr. [Eldonna] Boisson, here in the country to determine exactly when we can expect them to be in the country.”

Darville said the vaccine would be administered to those considered high risk.

“The literature is clear,” he said.

“Yes, the homosexual population is a high risk, but, with that being said, the public health issues associated with individuals who come in contact with individuals who may have been exposed or high risk, it is our responsibility to be on high alert for all cases.”

The Bahamas confirmed a case of monkeypox last month after a man began exhibiting symptoms after travelling to New Providence from the United Kingdom.

While health officials have reported other suspected cases, the total case count stands at one.

The World Health Organization declared that the monkeypox outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern last week.

Darville said the Ministry of Health is “working very closely” with PAHO to develop a strategy to address a potential outbreak in The Bahamas.

He said The Bahamas could test for monkeypox.

“… We have been working seminars with the tourism sector and our hotels,” Darville said.

“This week or early next week, we will deal with immigration and customs [workers] who are also at risk to identify cases. And so, our strategy for monkeypox is very advanced and on its way.

“We believe that we can monitor this particular outbreak. If God forbid we start to develop cases in the country, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Public Health, and PAHO are already in the advanced stages of our protocols and strategies to deal with monkeypox in the country.”

More than 18,000 cases have been reported in at least 75 countries. According to the United States Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), 17,852 cases have been reported in 69 countries that had not historically reported monkeypox. 

Twenty-two cases have been confirmed in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean islands, according to PAHO.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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