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Vaccination rate slows to snail’s pace

That was then: queues formed for access to the vaccine when it was first made available, but demand has slackened off in recent weeks (File photograph)

About 300 residents have become immunised against Covid-19 in the last two weeks, the latest vaccination figures have revealed.

The number of people who have had a second jab now stands at 64.6 per cent of the population – an increase of just 0.5 per cent on two weeks ago.

The latest figure, announced last night, continued a trend from the start of July when the vaccination rate stood at 63.2 per cent.

Vaccination numbers have increased by just a fraction of a percentage point each week in the last six weeks.

The Government set a 70 per cent target to reach herd immunity when the vaccination programme started in January.

But Carika Weldon, a PhD and the Government’s science adviser, later warned that figure would have to be raised to 87.5 per cent after the more virulent Delta variant was detected on the island.

The Government has never acknowledged if it has accepted that figure as the new target.

David Burt, the Premier, announced last week that supervised quarantine regulations for non-vaccinated travellers would be relaxed because almost 75 per cent of the eligible population had got the jabs.

Youngsters aged under 12 – around 10,000 people – are not eligible to get the vaccine and were not included in the herd immunity figures.

A spokeswoman for Mr Burt said: “ Premier Burt did not use the term ‘herd immunity’ when he referenced the per cent of the eligible population that has been vaccinated, so it is not correct to equate the two.

“Bermuda successful vaccination programme makes it less likely Bermuda's healthcare system can be overwhelmed by an outbreak.

“This allows risk-based adjustments to be made to all restrictions, including quarantine.

“All unvaccinated persons will still be subject to a period of supervised quarantine.”

Michael Dunkley, the Opposition spokesman on health and national security, claimed last Sunday that Government was “stepping back” from its responsibilities in the wake of rising cases of Covid-19 and disappointing vaccination figures.

He said: “Premier Burt and his Cabinet colleagues have initially put a lot of effort and planning into the vaccination policy, but lately the community vaccination rates have stalled, the Government has failed to communicate a current cohesive plan, and community frustration builds due to the very tough climate all Bermudians are living in.

“Many in the community are asking ‘where do we go from here?’ due to the mixed messages and changing polices of the Government.”

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Published August 18, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated August 18, 2021 at 7:57 am)

Vaccination rate slows to snail’s pace

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