Local health officials have confirmed the distribution of more than 5,000 vaccinations administered in Bermuda, as more than 13,000 residents have signed up to take the jab as the Ministry prepares to move to phase two of the vaccination programme.

Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing last night (Feb 2), Health Minister Kim Wilson said the Government has “completed the third full week of vaccinations, and the first full week of vaccinations using two Vaccination Centres”.

“For the period through to January 30, 2021, Bermuda has vaccinated a total of 4,897 persons – representing an additional 1,965 persons,” she said.

“However, by including yesterday’s (Monday, Feb 1) number we have well exceeded 5,000 vaccinations, including more than 200 persons who are now fully immunized.

“We would note data is generally provided by Epi week and any data provided within 1-2 days of vaccination is considered preliminary,” she added.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • a total of 2123 or 43% males and 2774 or 57% females
  • with 1039 or 21% persons who are under 50
  • 1108 or 23% persons between 50 and 64
  • 1741 or 35% between 65 and 79, and
  • 1009 or 21% persons who are over 80 years old

Of the vaccine sites, and based on the Epi week ending January 30:

  • the Vaccination Centre at the Police Recreation Club administered 3084 or 63% of vaccinations
  • 182 or 4% were administered at rest homes
  • 1573 or 32% were administered by the Bermuda Hospitals Board; and
  • 58 or 1% were administered at Corrections

The Minister also noted that “of the first groups in Phase 1A” the breakdown on those vaccinated include:

  • 1,009 persons or 32% of those aged 80 years or older
  • 326 persons or 44% of those in rest homes and long term care facilities
  • 676 or 28% of health care workers, and
  • 960 or 41% of essential service workers

“Whilst we are pleased with the numbers of persons vaccinated thus far, we must ensure that all persons in the critical groups that are at risk are safely vaccinated,” said the Minister.

“If you know anyone in any of our high-risk target groups who has not registered their interest in getting the vaccine, please encourage or help them to register online at: forms.gov.bm/covidvaccine.”

She also confirmed the arrival of “the second batch of 19,500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine”, which arrived last Friday, “after being delayed by one day due to the inclement weather”.

Now that it’s here, Ms Wilson said the Government “can now start moving towards Phase 2 of the National Allocation Strategy”.

“While we continue to ask those in Priority Group 1(A) or 1 (B)  to register their interest and be vaccinated, we are also asking those residents in Phase 2, to register their interest online,” she added.

“Phase 2 is people 50 years and older as well as vulnerable people [those with heart disease, chronic kidney or liver disease, and diabetes, for example], essential travellers and residents with disabilities.

“I must repeat – registering your interest does not guarantee you an appointment at this time.

“When you submit your registration form, you will receive an auto-generated submission receipt. Your submission will be filed, and you will be contacted as appointments are scheduled. Please remember that appointments are based on a medical risk assessment that, in turn, is based on age and clinical vulnerability, and this is carried out manually by the medical team. Every submission will be replied to, and there is no need for you to re-submit.”

As of January 30, some 13,227 persons have registered their interest in getting vaccinated.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 2,261 Black
  • 6,717 White
  • 1,187 Mixed or Other
  • 3,062 Not Specified or Prefer not to say

On that note Ms Wilson said their “data confirms that trends of black registration are climbing”.

Now that the second batch has arrived, she added: “Our overarching goal is access to the vaccines by every resident, and we will constantly be adjusting to assure and enhance access to vaccines by all.

“For those of you who have registered already – thank you. I want to ask those people who are waiting for their appointment to please be patient as the ministry continues to clinically assess each registration.

“While you wait, though, please read the COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Consent Form online at gov.bm/vaccines. This document contains important information about the vaccine, and it will make the process at the Vaccination Centre quicker if you read it before you get there.”

Moving forward, as the Government continues “to receive more doses of the vaccine and transition through the phases”, she said: “Tthere may be changes to the existing protocols, and these changes will be widely communicated to the public as they become effective.

“One such change is that we now require residents to bring a Bermuda Drivers License or proof of residence when you come to your vaccination appointment. A second change is that all those arriving by car to the Police Club must check in first at the Clyde Best Centre. Please do not drive straight up to the Police Club. What has not changed is that vaccinations at both vaccination centres are administered by appointment only.

“The Ministry of Health continues its work reviewing and assessing potentially suitable locations to serve as additional vaccine centres. This is necessary because as of yesterday, February 1st, we are now administering both first doses and second doses. This means we must increase our capacity in order to reach our goal of vaccinating approximately one third of the population by March 31.

“I would ask all residents who are scheduled to receive their second dose – please do not miss your appointment! ”

This is critically important for two reasons:

“First – as the vaccine has strict quality and storage standards, the Ministry prepares the doses daily based on the scheduled appointments for the day. As such, we must closely monitor the doses and make sure that all doses prepared are actually administered. Our mandate is to ensure we do not waste a single dose, so please attend your appointment as scheduled.

“Second – the two-dose regimen, as recommended by Pfizer, is proven to be dramatically more effective. While you get some immunity – approximately 52% – from the first injection, the second dose boosts the immunity to 95% effectiveness.

“If you do have to change your appointment, we ask that you call the Vaccination Hotline at 444 2498 (option #2) or email vaccine@gov.bm as soon as you can so that we can re-schedule your appointment.”

Meanwhile, Premier David Burt reiterated that the “second delivery of vaccines” will allow the Government “to vaccinate an additional 9,750 persons. I should say, at least another 9,750 persons.

“As a country, our goal remains to vaccinate 19,000 residents or 36 percent of the eligible population by the end of March.

“I’m grateful to the individuals, as the Minister of Health mentioned, over 13,000 of them that have registered their interest so far. And I am pleased to see the number of Black residents that have registered steadily increasing,” he added.

“I strongly encourage all eligible persons to register. Public Service vehicle licensed drivers like taxi and bus drivers are eligible to receive the vaccine, so please make sure you register. I’ve heard some complaints from taxi drivers who may be picking up our tourists at the airport, etc. Please go ahead and register and get yourself vaccinated.

“The Government will increase the number of vaccination centres. A third vaccination centre would allow for more persons to receive the vaccine daily and help us to increase the number vaccinated. As the Minister of Health said our new target will be moved up to 800 per day. The details of the third vaccination centre will be announced before the end of the week, but before then, I would like to thank the team at the Bermuda College for working with the Government in this initiative.”