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UK ships Moderna bivalent booster to Bermuda

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Special cargo: Rena Lalgie, the Governor, right, talks with a ground crewman as the fresh batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived on yesterday’s British Airways flight September 21, 2022 (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda has received a shipment of the Moderna bivalent vaccine, one of the few vaccine boosters that targets new Covid-19 variants that have higher resistance to earlier vaccines and natural immunity.

The shipment is part of a 5,500 dose shipment that came in on last night’s British Airways flight. It includes the original adult and paediatric versions of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Clinical trials show that a booster dose of the bivalent Moderna Spikevax vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original Sars-CoV-2 virus strain.

It was also found to generate a good immune response against the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, and is expected to extend the durability of protection.

A Government statement did not break down how many of each vaccine was delivered from the UK government.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said: “The Bermuda Government is again grateful to the UK Government for their efforts and generosity that enabled Bermuda to receive this shipment.

“We appreciate the Governor’s unwavering support and for the assistance of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.”

GP offices, pharmacies and paediatricians will receive the vaccines in the coming weeks. The Ministry of Health and the Bermuda Health Council will have a list of providers early next week.

Governor Rena Lalgie said: “I am delighted that the UK has been able to provide this 14th shipment of Covid-19 vaccines to Bermuda to support the efforts of the Government of Bermuda’s vaccination strategy, at no cost to Bermuda.

“The UK remains committed to helping facilitate access to vaccinations and medication that Bermuda needs.”

Who is eligible for vaccines

Vaccines are offered to Bermuda’s residents who meet the following criteria:

Patients aged 5 to 11 years old are eligible for a first or second dose only. The time between doses must be at least 21 days.

Patients aged 12 and above are eligible for first, second or third doses. The time between the first and second dose must be at least 21 days. The time between the second dose and third dose booster must be at least five months.

Residents 50 years or older and immunocompromised residents are eligible for a fourth or subsequent dose of the Covid-19 vaccine provided their third dose or previous dose was at least five months ago.

Health and essential care workers are eligible for a fourth or subsequent dose of the Covid-19 vaccine provided their third dose or previous dose was at least five months ago.

Ms Wilson added: “Although fewer people are getting the virus, and there are fewer hospitalisations and fortunately fewer deaths, individuals should protect themselves, their loved ones and our community.

“We are heading into fall, which is cold and flu season. Vaccination remains the single most important measure to fight the coronavirus.”

For more information, the roll-out of the fall Covid-19 vaccination programme visit www.gov.bm/vaccines.

Special package: Rena Lalgie, the Governor, right, assesses the fresh batch of Covid-19 vaccines which arrived on the British Airways flight, last night September 21, 2022 (Photograph supplied)