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19°/17.22°Scattered Clouds

2021-01-12 - 06:46:33  POLITICS | 

Premier, Health Minister, Opposition Leader and Dr. Weldon Receive COVID Vaccine


Among some of the first people in Bermuda to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine at the Police Recreation Club at Prospect were Premier the Honorable David Burt, Minister of Health the Honorable Kim Wilson, Leader of the Opposition Cole Simons and scientific advisor to the government Dr. Carika Weldon.

Before getting vaccinated, Premier Burt emphasized the vaccine’s importance and encouraged all residents to do their research and speak with their doctors before deciding to get or not to get the vaccine.

“[The four of us] are doing this today as we feel that it is important to combat vaccine hesitancy, especially within the black community, that us as leaders are prepared to lead by example,” he said.

Ms. Wilson said that the government’s goal is to vaccinate as much of Bermuda’s adult population as possible so that the island could possibly achieve herd immunity. If people take the vaccines when they arrive and if more shipments arrive from the U.S. and U.K, she believes that herd immunity could be achieved as early as this year.

“According to most experts, if we are able to vaccinate in between 60 and 70 percent of our population, we can halt the transmission and spread of this virus,” she said.
Despite Monday being the first day, a lot of people within the community have already expressed their enthusiasm about getting vaccinated.

“We are truly delighted at this level of eagerness and we implore people to be patient as we answer your calls and respond to your emails,” Ms. Wilson said.

Mr. Simons said that his party, the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA), will work closely with the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and the people of Bermuda to successfully address this pandemic.

“If the people are safe, the economy is safe. That is what is important to all of Bermuda,” he said.

When Dr. Weldon was an undergraduate at the university, her first research project was on MRNA. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is an MRNA vaccine.

“To now be here 20 years on ready to see an MRNA vaccine given to my people, I am very excited,” she said. “It felt like [MRNA vaccines] were going to be a distant thing, but to see it now come into fruition is very exciting.”
One of the main benefits to getting the COVID-19 vaccine according to Dr. Weldon is so people can protect themselves, as well as more vulnerable persons, from getting the virus.
 
 “We can’t think about ourselves, we have to think about those who are more vulnerable and may not recover from it,” she said.
She hopes that her, the Premier, the Opposition Leader and the Minister of Health getting the vaccine today was reassurance for people who might have been skeptical about getting it themselves.

For more information on the vaccine and Bermuda’s vaccine program, people can visit gov.bm/vaccines. People can register for a vaccination by calling 444-2298 and selecting option 2, or by emailing ?vaccine@gov.bm? with the subject line “Registration Data.”
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