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Top doctor appeals for people to vaccinate to protect others

Nevin Williams, director of the hospitalist service for the Bermuda Hospitals Board (Photograph supplied)

The island’s top hospital physician yesterday appealed to people to get vaccinated after it was revealed thousands of doses had to be used before they were ruled out of date.

Nevin Williams, the director of the hospitalist service at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, said people should think of others.

Dr Williams said vaccination was“very important”.

He added he had opted for vaccination after he compared “the benefits with the alternatives of not being vaccinated”.

Dr Williams said: “In my field, working on the front line, I had seen patients come in with Covid disease, and some patients haven’t done too well.

“Also, in this most recent wave, I’ve noticed that none of the patients that have come into the hospital have actually been fully vaccinated. I think that’s very interesting.”

Dr Williams was speaking after it was revealed earlier this week that thousands would need to get the jab before stocks hit their June 8 expiry date.

A total of 8,000 doses of Bermuda’s AstraZeneca vaccine supply have been pledged to Trinidad by next week, the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday has reported.

The AstraZeneca stock doses, purchased by Bermuda from Covax, were said to be at their expiry date in late June.

A Government spokeswoman said last night: “The Covax facility is set up on principles of equity goals, dose sharing principles and maximising use of vaccine stock.

“We currently have more AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine stocks than we are likely to use before its expiry date, June 30, and we are seeking to assist our neighbours to the south by sharing doses that are in excess of our requirements.”

She said the island still expected to use all of its supply of the Pfizer vaccine, provided to Bermuda free by Britain.

But she added: “We are unable to share this, as it has reached the maximum number of times it can be transported as recommended by the manufacturer.”

Coronavirus cases in Trinidad, where 519 new cases were recorded on Wednesday, have surged this month.

Figures released on Tuesday highlighted that 4,500 people in Bermuda would need to get their first dose before June 8 or thousands of Pfizer shots would pass their use by date.

The island’s uptake of the vaccine has fallen well short of the original goal of 70 per cent immunity by the end of this month.

Dr Williams said he had opted to “protect myself and protect my family as a front line worker who does have involvement in managing patients with Covid”.

He told the public: “I think the same thing stands as far as being able personally to protect yourself.

“Data shows, with the studies that have been done, that people who get the vaccine, don’t end up getting serious coronavirus disease in the vast majority of cases.”

Dr Williams said vaccination was the best way “to protect those around you”.

He added: “Because whether or not you have symptoms, you may be able to spread it to people who are more vulnerable who could experience serious disease.

“You always want to think about those around you – your family, seniors in the community, people who may have underlying medical conditions.”

The news came after Ramon Arscott, a doctor and expert in epidemiology, warned earlier this month that unvaccinated people who got infected risked turning their own bodies into a test-tube for the virus to create a “Bermuda variant”.

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Published May 21, 2021 at 8:20 am (Updated May 21, 2021 at 8:20 am)

Top doctor appeals for people to vaccinate to protect others

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