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Entire country will get access to coronavirus vaccine

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Active Covid-19 cases since the beginning of October 2020 (Graphic by Shareil Paynter)
The Government plans to provide access to a coronavirus vaccine to all residents (File photograph)

The entire population is expected to have access to a coronavirus vaccine under Government plans to manage the pandemic’s impact.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said that some groups like healthcare workers and seniors will get priority as part of a phased approach.

The news came after five new cases were found in 682 test results that came back to the health ministry on Wednesday.

The cases took the total number of confirmed cases in Bermuda to 272, including 47 active infections with one in hospital, but not in critical care.

British health regulators this week approved a temporary authorisation for emergency use of the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses, which would cater to 20 million people because two doses need to be administered 21 days apart.

Government House confirmed this week that Britain had committed to supply Bermuda and other Overseas Territories with “a proportionate share of the Covid-19 vaccines that it procures”.

The health ministry spokeswoman said: “It is important to bear in mind that the Pfizer vaccine is the first one to be approved.

“There are still other vaccines to be considered.

“Our priority is to choose the best vaccine for the residents of Bermuda.

“The intention is to provide access to the vaccine to all residents.”

She added: “The vaccine will be administered using a phased approach that will initially target the healthcare and essential workers along with medically vulnerable persons and those age 65 years and over.

“Further details will be provided in a future briefing.”

The spokeswoman said that the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -75C or -103F.

She added: “There are resources on island that can provide us with the necessary equipment to sustain that temperature.

“Additional ultra low temperature freezers have been ordered and we are awaiting their shipment to Bermuda in order to prepare for higher volumes of the vaccine.”

The health ministry spokeswoman said: “The exact number of doses and scheduled shipment date has not yet been confirmed.

“However, we continue to communicate with Public Health England so that we are fully prepared to receive this particular vaccine.”

Two of the latest coronavirus cases came to the island from overseas – both were asymptomatic residents who arrived from Atlanta on November 17 and tested positive on day 14.

They were already under quarantine as close contacts of confirmed cases on the same flight.

Another two cases were transmitted on the island through a known contact – they were asymptomatic residents who were also quarantined.

One new case is under investigation.

The health ministry spokeswoman added: “This case is a symptomatic resident with no identified links to travel or other known cases or clusters.”

Nine people with Covid-19 have died and 216 people have recovered from the coronavirus.

The age range of positive cases ranges from an infant to 101 and the average age is 51.

A total of 126 cases have come to Bermuda from overseas and 116 were transmitted on the island with a known contact or source.

Another 21 cases were transmitted on the island through an unknown contact or source and nine cases were under investigation yesterday.

The seven-day average of Bermuda’s real time reproduction number was 1.13.

The island’s country status is “clusters of cases”.

The spokeswoman added: “The Ministry of Health would like to restate that if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 then please contact your doctor - do not self-diagnose.”

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Published December 04, 2020 at 9:23 am (Updated December 04, 2020 at 9:22 am)

Entire country will get access to coronavirus vaccine

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