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Some seniors not vaccinated as adult children refuse consent: Premier

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David Burt The Premier receives his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Carika Weldon, the head of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab, receives her Covid-19 vaccine (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Some seniors in rest homes have yet to be vaccinated because their children have refused to give consent.

David Burt, the Premier, said in an online conversation about the pandemic on Sunday he was saddened by the number of people who have failed to give consent for their parents to be vaccinated.

He said: “No one can force it – it is not for us to force – but it is very concerning for our most vulnerable population there are children who will not consent for their parents to be vaccinated.

“In a setting like that if there is one seeding of a contagious virus it can have an impact, an outbreak.

“The truth is we don’t have all of our seniors in rest homes vaccinated and the way this new strain is spreading it is likely that, just as there are cases in the prison, there will be cases in rest homes.”

Mr Burt said the Government had sought to have seniors vaccinated first because of their vulnerability and urged people to speak with their family members to protect the elderly.

He said: “There are lots that haven’t been vaccinated and I really fear what will happen if there are outbreaks in rest homes.”

Last Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced that 20 per cent of the island’s over-65 population had been fully immunised, while 62 per cent had received a single shot.

Carika Weldon, a geneticist and head of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab, said that while only a relatively small number of people who contracted the virus in Bermuda have died, everyone should be careful to prevent spreading it to those who may be vulnerable.

“A number of them were in places where they couldn’t get it themselves. That’s a fact,” Dr Weldon said.

“They didn’t go out and contract it themselves. It was passed to them by someone else who probably didn’t have symptoms.

“We can’t just think about ourselves. It has to be about everyone else.”

Dr Weldon said the UK variant appeared to spread much faster than the original Covid-19 strain, but also lingered longer in the patients.

“We have had a number of Day 14 out-of-quarantine tests,” she said.

“Usually you wouldn’t test positive after Day 8, but here we are.

“It seems to be the trend and that is why it is so important that when you do your quarantine for 14 days you stay put.”

Dr Weldon said that about 10 per cent of the recent cases were identified in people who have had both vaccination shots.

But she said those who had been immunised had significantly less of the virus than those who had similar exposure without vaccination, which made it significantly less likely for them to transmit the virus or show symptoms.

Dr Weldon urged members of the public who get tested to keep to themself until they get the results.

Mr Burt said a number of the positive cases came from people who had taken tests so they could travel overseas.

He hailed the success of the vaccination effort and said it was projected that by the end of this week 36 per cent of the eligible population would have received at least one jab.

Mr Burt said a small number of AstraZeneca vaccines – about 100 – would be included in the next shipment from the UK for those who cannot take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in wider use in Bermuda.

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Published March 30, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated March 30, 2021 at 8:24 am)

Some seniors not vaccinated as adult children refuse consent: Premier

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