Covid-19 vaccine could be on island next month
A vaccine for Covid-19 could be available to Bermuda as early as next month, the health minister has revealed.
Kim Wilson said the UK had pledged to share some of its stock of vaccinations for the illness with its Overseas Territories when they became available.
She added the health ministry was also looking at securing vaccines from the Covax centre through the Pan-American Health Organisation.
Ms Wilson said that would mean enough doses for 25 per cent of the population at first.
She said on Tuesday that when a vaccine became available for the coronavirus, healthcare workers and the island’s most vulnerable would take priority.
Ms Wilson said the Government would not make vaccination mandatory and that no decision had been made on a price for the jab.
She added: “We will be required to wear masks, physically distance and the like for a considerable amount of time.”
Ms Wilson said there had been a delay in stocking up on flu shots, caused by a temporary halt to British Airways flights imposed this week as part on an English Covid-19 lockdown.
Ms Wilson added no increase in flu cases had been reported to her.
Walk-in flu vaccinations have been cancelled at Hamilton Health Centre while a shipment of flu shots from the UK was rerouted.
But Ms Wilson told the public that they could still get the vaccine from their general practitioners.
She added that the Bermuda Health Plan, promised in the Throne Speech on Friday, would help with the “economic shock” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Wilson said: “This government believes that Bermuda must have a holistic healthcare system that prioritises prevention, chronic disease management and healthcare delivery via primary healthcare with a restructuring of the health-system financing.”
She added that Bermuda had logged a single new coronavirus case from an American Airlines flight from Miami, which arrived last Sunday.
The passenger, a returned resident, tested positive on arrival and had no pre-departure test.
The news brought the island’s total number of cases of the coronavirus to 215, with 23 cases being monitored by health officials but no one in hospital.
All the active cases came in from overseas and the island’s status remained at “sporadic cases”.
David Burt, the Premier, warned people to observe quarantine regulations as UK students prepared to fly back to Bermuda for the Christmas holidays.
There are also flights from the United States, where cases of the virus have surged.
Mr Burt said: “We must ensure that travellers do not endanger our seniors and other vulnerable people.“