NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) has come out against an incentive program for vaccination or “vaccine lotto” as the government and the United States Embassy explore similar initiatives to bolster vaccine uptake.
Eyewitness News revealed on Monday that the government and the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee were considering partnering with the private sector to offer vaccine incentives, but had not made a definitive decision on the matter.
BDU President Dr Melisande Bassett said: “I don’t agree in an incentive program because it may be onerous as time goes on.
“We should have more educational programs [and] encourage and enforce COVID-19 protocols at bars, parties.”
The Bahamas remains in a surge, with daily cases and hospitalizations pushing health institutions such as Princess Margaret Hospital and Doctor’s Hospital to the brink, with both institutions being forced to choose who receives critical life-saving equipment.
Though vaccine interest and uptake have increased since The Bahamas acquired 128,000 Pfizer vaccine doses, just 13 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated — a large shortfall from the 75 to 85 percent needed to reach herd immunity.
Yesterday, Bassett said: “We are having greater interest, but it may be multifactorial [with] the increasing death rates, as well as having [vaccine] choices.”