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Island’s Covid vaccination rate will help protect from possible future surges – minister

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Bermuda’s high Covid-19 vaccination rate should shield it from possible surges of the virus, it has been claimed.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that the Government was prepared for any fresh surge threatened by new variants of the virus, but added that she was confident the island was already well protected.

According to the World Health Organisation, deaths from the disease globally have risen sharply in the past two months.

Watchdogs have also warned that a drop in monitoring of the virus has made it harder to track existing variants and identify new ones.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, warned recently that the threat posed by new variants should not be underestimated.

He said: “It has and will continue to surprise us, and it will continue to kill unless we do more to get health tools to people that need them and to comprehensively tackle misinformation.

“Too few people, especially older people and health workers, are adequately vaccinated. Too many people are behind on their boosters. For too many people, antivirals remain expensive and out of reach, and too many people don’t receive the right care.”

It is understood that more than 75 per cent of Bermuda’s population have had at least two shots of the vaccine. The Government said recently that one third of eligible residents had received a second and third booster shot and that there were still supplies of the vaccine available.

The number of active cases has been in decline in the past month. According to the latest figures, there are just 16 active cases, ten of which are admitted to hospital.

Warning against complacency, Ms Wilson said that further surges from new variants were possible.

Optimistic: Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (File photograph)

“However, the saving grace is that if there was a surge, because we have such a high level of immunisation in Bermuda, I think we’re going to be shielded,” said the minister.

“Notwithstanding that there are new variants floating around — and that will continue to be the case — because of the level of immunisation through vaccines we will be in a good stead.

“Obviously if we have to secure more vaccines we will. But we’ve done really, really well and I’m not expecting us to get more vaccines until next fall.

“Who knows — by then the Covid vaccine may be tied into the flu shot — the science is suggesting that it will be an annual requirement.

“In what form that takes — if it’s combined with the flu shot — we don’t know and will just have to watch, but we still have sufficient supplies of Pfizer on island that doesn’t expire until the end of April.

“But we’ve done really remarkably well with respect to our immunisation so I think Bermuda will be well protected in the event that another surge lands on our shores.”

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Published January 30, 2023 at 1:56 pm (Updated January 30, 2023 at 1:56 pm)

Island’s Covid vaccination rate will help protect from possible future surges – minister

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