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OBA question mark over Government vaccination target

More questions than answers: shadow health spokesman Michael Dunkley (file photograph)

The Government’s claim that 70 per cent of the population will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of next month was last night questioned by the Opposition.

Michael Dunkley, the One Bermuda Alliance shadow health minister, raised concerns after it was revealed that 34 per cent of the population had been vaccinated against the virus in just over three months.

The Government said 51,000 vaccines had been administered in the 14 weeks since the vaccination programme began on January 11.

But 45,000 of Bermuda’s population have to get two doses of the vaccine – 90,000 doses – for herd immunity to be reached.

The Government claimed that target will be reached by the end of May – which means that 39,000 doses would have to be administered in the next four weeks.

Mr Dunkley said: “Government has said we would reach community immunity by May 28.

“Let's hope, but at this time we still have a way to go to achieve this target.

“In addition, many who have received both doses are not happy that they have taken the jabs and still are subject to the current restrictions when the purpose of the vaccine was protection and a more normal way of life.

“Government has been too slow to address this expectation.

“It is past time that Government speaks to this matter."

A Government spokeswoman refused to respond to Mr Dunkley’s comments yesterday.

But David Burt, the Premier, defended Government’s vaccination programme in a broadcast address to the country last night.

Mr Burt said: “As the virus began to impact our community, the Government acted early to create sensible regulations to control its spread.

“While our early success in the fight against the virus remains a cornerstone of Bermuda’s economic recovery, recent events have dented that cornerstone.

“Despite the pronounced debate around vaccines, I am proud of the vaccination effort here in Bermuda which ranks among the top ten in the world.

“Tonight, I am pleased to announce that more than 50 per cent of our population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine which is an excellent milestone.”

But he added: “We must keep going in order to reach our goal of community protection, which is considered to be achieved when 70 per cent of the population have received both doses of the vaccine.

“Reaching this goal is essential on our journey back to normality.”

Mr Burt told the public: “Getting vaccinated is a personal choice and I urge you to speak to your doctor to discuss whether the vaccine is medically safe for you to take.

“Those considering whether or not to take it should also be aware that while yes, you can still get a coronavirus infection – as I did – the vaccine teaches your immune system to fight the virus, thus preventing moderate or severe disease that can lead to hospitalisation or death.”

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Published April 26, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated April 25, 2021 at 10:22 pm)

OBA question mark over Government vaccination target

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