News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Another 96 medical professionals have now signed a letter in support of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the open letter now having close to 200 signatories.

A spokesperson said: “Another 96 medical professionals have now signed a letter in support of the COVID-19 vaccine. The open letter, first released on September 23, now has close to 200 signatures, and counting. The island’s doctors are also working together to answer some commonly heard questions in a new series designed to promote having a healthy conversation about vaccination.

“This comes after the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association (BMDA) conducted a survey in August which revealed that 95.77 percent of the island’s doctors would recommend the Pfizer (or Moderna) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for a healthy adult without contraindications.

Dr Wilbert Warner, internal medicine physician, says: “There has been an unfortunate assumption that those who hadn’t yet signed the letter were somehow against vaccination, which is simply not the case. Some had not yet had the opportunity, and the list of doctors on the Bermuda register includes many that no longer work here, who now live abroad, visiting specialists or retired physicians.”

Dr Fiona Ross, local GP, added: “As a doctor, you are portrayed as either/or. You’re a slave to science who just wants to vaccinate or you’re a holistic naturopath, when the reality is the majority of us practice holism. We need to have a conversation about how these meet.”

“The doctors are seeing the same questions coming up surrounding hot topics such as boosting natural immunity, Ivermectin as a treatment, worries about fertility and the vaccine’s effect on breastfed babies,” a spokesperson said.

“So far the conversation around combatting COVID-19 has largely been led by the Government and we saw this as an opportunity to help speak to the public’s fears and concerns. Hesitancy is natural, especially when it comes to something unfamiliar and it’s important to take government out of the equation because there’s so much mistrust among people everywhere. This is not just specific to Bermuda.

“I don’t want anyone to feel forced into getting vaccinated. As a doctor, I want you to ask questions; I want you to talk to me; I want you to tell me your concerns; And I want you to know the benefits. People just want to know they’re going to be safe and if they fear the vaccine that’s really powerful. Offering streams of statistics going back to March 2020 doesn’t help everyone. These are people’s beliefs. Once you respect that, it becomes easier to have a conversation.”

Dr Louise White, Local GP, adds that are so many options out there, such as calling your GP’s office or visiting the Department of Health’s weekend pop-up clinics at The Hamilton Princess.

“All the research and data has been a big learning curve for us as well,” Dr White added. “More than six and a half billion doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide. We’ve now got all this evidence out which emphatically demonstrates it much safer to be vaccinated against Covid-19 than to catch it when you are unvaccinated.

“The doctors still agree that the vaccine is our number one chance at beating the virus,” a spokesperson said.

“For all of us, vaccinated or not, it is not a matter of if we will be exposed to COVID-19, but when. Risking catching COVID when you have not been vaccinated is like Russian Roulette. It’s like betting everything you’ve got on red – and it comes up black. When it comes to Covid-19, we know that the elderly population do worse, we know that diabetics and co-morbidities do worse, but we don’t know why some fit and healthy 40-year-olds die, while others get away with a sniffle. We really don’t know. We do know that this is mostly preventable. We had to deal with the horror of the first wave, but now it’s preventable.

Dr Warner added: “I think it’s great that Bermuda’s doctors are standing up and saying this is what we believe.”