Rest home residents to start receiving Covid-19 vaccine on Monday
Rest home residents will be first in line to get the Covid-19 vaccine after a consignment from the UK arrives today.
A team of medics will visit rest homes across the island from Monday to administer the drug to people who want the jab.
The team will also visit long-term care patients at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.
Bermuda Hospitals Board staff and other essential workers will also be able to get the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine from Monday at a vaccination centre in Hamilton.
A second clinic for KEMH staff only will be open at the hospital.
An exercise to test the documentation and vaccination process was held on Tuesday.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said she was confident the procedure, in which 4,500 people will get a first dose of the vaccine, would go without a hitch.
Ms Wilson said: “I am pleased with how the exercise was conducted.
“As with any trial run, minor adjustments were made to ensure next week’s vaccination process flows safely and efficiently.”
Rest home managers said that they and their residents were prepared.
April Augustus, the executive director at Westmeath Residential and Nursing Home in Pembroke, said: “We have been preparing for Monday and have the paper work together in terms of consent forms and things of that nature for when it does get here.
“The government has been very good at keeping us in the loop and has said that all staff and residents will be educated about the vaccine so that they can make informed decisions.
“But we are just waiting for confirmation of exactly when we will get it.”
A spokeswoman for Packwood Home, a charity in Sandys, said that communication from government had been “excellent”.
Judy Richardson, the chief of nursing at KEMH, said that trained medics will be at vaccination sites to monitor potential side effects of the vaccine
Recipients will be monitored for 15 minutes after they get the shot.
Ms Richardson added: “We have shared with residents and staff the benefits and the known side effects.”
“It is also important people balance what are mostly mild side effects of vaccination over a few days against the risks of a Covid-19 infection and also the continuing restrictions and precautions that our entire community have to live under in order to control transmission of the virus.”
Ms Richardson said: “For long-term care patients, consent must still be sought first of all.
“Some patients can speak for themselves, some require family approval and this process is under way at the moment.”
Government will make a presentation on vaccine awareness on Saturday.
Ms Wilson said: “The ministry recognises there are those in Bermuda who may have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine specifically, and vaccines in general.
“This programme will allow viewers to post their questions online to have them answered by medical professionals.”
The programme will be available on the Government’s Facebook page and CITV, starting at 6pm.
Just over 9,000 doses of the vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Bermuda on a British Airways flight tomorrow.
The drug will be held at a secret cold storage facility over the weekend.
Two doses of the vaccine – which is free – are required.
People who get their first dose next week will have to attend the vaccination centre for a second shot at the start of next month.
Judy Richardson, the chief of nursing at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the lead for the Bermuda Hospitals Board vaccine programme many were keen to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
But she admitted there had been a mixed response to news of the shots.
Ms Richardson said: “About 40,000 volunteers were part of the safety and efficacy trials for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, including seniors and people with chronic illnesses, and millions of people worldwide have been receiving the vaccine through December.
“The vaccine has benefited from global financial support and the focus of the world’s best scientists, but it has gone through the same process as all other drugs and vaccines.“
Ms Richardson added that Bermuda was about a month behind the UK and US, where the elderly, healthcare and other key workers have already been vaccinated.
She said: “While taking the vaccine is a personal decision, it is the responsibility of each one of us to find independently verified and substantiated scientific data on which to base our decision.
“Each one of us is able to choose, but our community’s future, including the future of people who may get sick and die, may depend on enough of us getting vaccinated.“