Ewart Brown joins vaccine drive as more than half of Bermuda’s doctors unite
More than half Bermuda’s doctors have lined up behind an appeal by their professional body for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The show of strength came as 102 of the 183 registered doctors on the island backed an open letter to the public from the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association last week.
Supporters included Ewart Brown, a former Progressive Labour Party premier.
The BMDA said it was “a heartfelt plea” after Covid-19 claimed 28 lives this month alone out of a total of 62 fatalities since the pandemic struck last year.
The organisation warned that the victims included “unvaccinated, young, otherwise healthy people” and that more vaccinations was the only way to beat the pandemic.
Annie Pinto, an anaesthetist and pain relief specialist said doctors had joined forces because “we believe that there truly is strength in numbers”.
Dr Pinto added: “It is painful for us to say – many of these deaths, these devastating losses, were entirely preventable and unnecessary.
“And it is both disheartening and frightening to see unvaccinated young, otherwise healthy people get really ill.
“Only as more members of our community get vaccinated, will we have a real chance at beating Covid-19 and getting ourselves through this pandemic.”
The record numbers of deaths and a huge increase in the number of Covid-19 inpatients has also had a major knock-on effect.
The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital had been forced to cut back to “emergency or urgent surgeries” only.
The BMDA said the number of signatures was a show of unity by the profession.
Laura Murphy, a GP, highlighted that the vaccine was the most monitored in history.
She told the public: “We know there are many of you who are still uncomfortable about getting the shot, its safety, and its long-term effects – and to those we say, please talk to us.
“We will tell you that the vaccine is not only safe, but highly effective.”
Dr Murphy said: “We all had the vaccine, and our families have as well. While there is risk in any and everything, these vaccines are safe, with few side effects.”
The BMDA insisted that vaccination was “top of the list” of measures to win the war against the coronavirus.
Just over 66 per cent of the island’s population had been given both doses of the jab by last week.
Health officials said almost 90 per cent of deaths from Covid-19 were among unvaccinated people.
Dr Murphy said unvaccinated people were “much more likely to become ill and die or suffer severe, long-term consequences from infection” than they were to experience side effects from the jabs.
She added: “Furthermore, getting it reduces the risk of new variants penetrating our community.”
The health ministry will run a vaccine clinic on Sunday at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, with two doctors — Hannah Murray and Sylvanus Nawab — available to answer questions.
The clinic will run from 10am to 3pm.
Update: Two new names were added to the list below at 10.45am. In addition, Dr Daniele Williams’ last name was changed to her correct name, Simons. Earlier a repetition of Dr Louise White’s name was removed from the list.
• To read the BMDA statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.