Almost one in five have had Covid-19 vaccine, says Kim Wilson
Eighteen per cent of Bermuda’s population has received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while seven percent are fully immunised.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said last night that just over half of the island’s most vulnerable populations - those over the age of 80 and those living in rest homes - had received at least one vaccine dose.
She also revealed at a press conference that vaccine hesitancy in the Black community appeared to be easing 23 per cent of those registered to receive a vaccine are Black, compared to 17 per cent on February 3.
Ms Wilson said that through February 20, 16,377 vaccines had been administered of which 11,698 had had one dose and 4,769 were fully inoculated.
Through Monday, 17,073 people had received at least one dose.
Ms Wilson said Bermuda’s goal of herd community was 70 per cent of the population of 64,054.
She said 3,804 vaccines were delivered last week.
Ms Wilson said 19,389 people have now registered for the vaccine. Of that number, 47 per cent are White, 23 per cent are Black, 11 per cent are mixed race and 19 per cent did not disclose their ethnicity.
The proportion of Black registrants is the highest on record.
Ms Wilson said:
· 51 per cent of people aged 80 or older have now received at least one vaccine dose, and 31 per cent have had both doses;
· 51 per cent of people in rest homes have received at least one dose, and 41 per cent have had both;
· 50 per cent of health care workers have received at least one dose, and 39 per cent have had both;
· 56 per cent of essential workers have received at least one dose, and 30 per cent have had both; and
· 44 per cent of people in people aged 65 to 79 have received at least one vaccine dose, and 17 per cent have had both.
David Burt, the Premier, also announced that reagents needed to determine the different strains of Covid-19 have arrived on island, and so the Ministry would be able to determine if the more contagious strains found discovered in other countries had reached Bermuda.
The Premier said: “By next week’s press conference, we will have all 358 positives that are in the deep freeze tested, so there will be news to report.”
Ms Wilson also said no new cases of Covid-19 were recorded today from 240 tests.
She added that there have been no recoveries meaning there are still ten active cases. One person is in hospital.
Ms Wilson said Bermuda’s results had been sent to the Centres for Disease Control, but the island remained at Category 4, which is “very high” risk, although the statistics put Bermuda at the Category 1 or “very low” risk level.
She also admitted the Ministry’s vaccination hotline - 444-2498 - had struggled to meet demand, but said measures have been put in place to address the issue.
Ms Wilson said: “System upgrades are completed now and additional staff are being put in place to answer your calls.
“This is important, so if you don’t succeed the first time, please try again.
“The volume of calls is high and we have expanded the hours of operation to accommodate this - the vaccine hotline is open from 8.30am to 5pm Monday through Friday and 9am to 1.30pm on Saturdays.”
Mr Burt said Bermuda remained in the top ten of countries for vaccinations on a per capita basis.
He also pushed back at “commentary” that the Government had been heavy handed in enforcing pandemic regulations, saying he was unapologetic about balancing economic needs with the requirement to save lives.
Mr Burt said: “I would prefer to be criticised for being heavy handed than to be criticised for having excess debt and endless lock downs, which can be seen in other countries.”
He also noted that the number of active cases had doubled in the last week, saying this showed how unpredictable the coronavirus was and why Bermuda had to keep its guard up.