Vaccination rates reach ‘soft ceiling’ – Minister
The Minister of Health has acknowledged that Bermuda’s vaccination rate has reached “a soft ceiling” – but vowed the Government would continue to encourage residents to take the jab.
Kim Wilson spoke out after the department of health revealed that 65.4 per cent of the population had been fully immunised with two shots of the vaccine – up from 64.9 per cent a week ago.
Numbers shot up rapidly after the vaccination programme was launched at the start of the year. But in recent months the figure has been rising at just a fraction of a percentage point each week.
Ms Wilson said it was still important for Bermuda to reach its herd immunity target of 70 per cent.
The minister also pointed another significant benefit of having the jab – vaccinated residents who went on to contract the virus were far less likely to suffer from sever symptoms.
Speaking to The Royal Gazette yesterday, Ms Wilson said: “Like other jurisdictions we have reached that soft ceiling, but we’re still continuing to press forward and encourage people to get the vaccine principally to assist persons who can’t get it because they’re underage or because of medical vulnerabilities.
“We will continue to strive to immunise as many people as possible. We have always said that we would have sufficient vaccines for those people who wish to be immunised.
“There’s an educational element to it, encouraging people to speak to their physician. We’re not going to give up because that’s the only way we’re going to beat this – by ensuring that as many people are vaccinated as can be.”
Asked if she expected the recent surge in active cases to continue, Ms Wilson said: “I’m concerned because at this point we have children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated. You and I as adults need to do what we can to protect them.
“What we’re seeing is a larger percentage of those cases of local transmission under investigation are unimmunised.
“It’s also concerning because we’re seeing young people and we recognise that young people cannot be immunised, and they’re going home to their unimmunised family members and transmitting the virus, often times because they don’t have any symptoms.”