The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) has joined forces with the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) and the Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS) to provide a safe and hygienic environment to administer the much-anticipated AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Grand Bahamians and residents.
As the Government of The Bahamas makes preparations to distribute the vaccine, GBPA has stepped in to make a portion of the Susan J. Wallace Community Centre available for an initial period of two months as a full-service immunization facility. The GBPA will cover all utility costs, provide 24-hour security, and building and grounds maintenance associated with the upkeep and preservation of the facility for the duration of its use as a vaccination centre.
Sharon Williams, Administrator at GBHS, expressed her appreciation for the support given by the GBPA. “This partnership between PHA and the GBPA is timely and will ensure that Grand Bahama Health Services can continue to work diligently to help prevent the rise in COVID-19 cases in our community.”
Distribution of the vaccine at the Centre will also help to alleviate some of the pressure on Grand Bahama’s strained medical system. “The use of the facility for vaccination purposes helps us tremendously,” added Ms. Williams. “Our other healthcare facilities, including our clinics, are unable to facilitate mass vaccinations while caring for ailing patients and conducting normal operations.”
Ian Rolle, President of the GBPA, stated, “Rolling out the vaccine quickly and efficiently is vital to saving and protecting lives in our community. Our Island has suffered so much loss and devastation since Hurricane Dorian and the Covid-19 pandemic. Separately, this will also help the island’s economic recovery, which has been uppermost on GBPA’s mind since Hurricane Dorian. While we acknowledge that medical facilities are the sole responsibility of the Government of The Bahamas, the GBPA was delighted to step up to assist the PHA at the onset of COVID-19. In April 2020, we made the Grand Bahama Cancer Association building available to be used as a COVID-19 medical facility free of charge for a nine-month period. We also sourced and funded a supply of COVID-19 rapid-result test kits, donated two x-ray machines to PHA and provided a back-up generator.
“We know that the fight against COVID-19 requires a collaborative, coordinated effort from all sectors,” continued Mr. Rolle. “We want to continue to support GBHS by providing a safe and central location that can be made sterile and accessible so that all designated persons can receive the vaccine expeditiously. GBPA will continue to support GBHS’s effort to fight Covid-19. The sooner we get past this daunting hurdle, the sooner our Island can move forward with vigour, and the sooner critical projects in the Grand Bahama pipeline can be underway.”