‘Proportionate Share Of Vaccines UK Procures’

December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

“The UK Government will supply the Territories with a proportionate share of the vaccines that the UK procures,” British Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Foreign Office Wendy Morton said.

Local officials have already confirmed that “Bermuda will be supplied with 9,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and they will arrive on our shores in the first week of January 2021.” The Pfizer vaccine is based on a two-dose regimen, so 9000 doses should equate to 4,500 total.

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British Parliamentary Discussion

During yesterday’s [Dec 14] sitting of British Parliament, Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan asked the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, “what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people residing in the British Overseas Territories are able to access a Covid-19 vaccine.”

In response, Parliamentary Under-Secretary Wendy Morton said, “The UK Government has been supporting the Overseas Territories throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, enabling seven to establish local testing facilities, and ensuring none ran out of personal protective equipment, testing, and other medical supplies.

“UK Ministers have written to the leaders of the Overseas Territories, confirming that the UK Government will supply the Territories with a proportionate share of the vaccines that the UK procures, in line with the UK’s enduring commitment to the people of the Overseas Territories.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, together with Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the UK Vaccine Taskforce, are now coordinating plans to deploy vaccines to the Territories.”

According to a UK Parliamentary report, the permanently inhabited overseas territories [Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, and the Turks & Caicos] have a combined population of around 250,000 people.

Prime Minister Johnson speaking last month, saying the UK ordered enough to include the Territories:

Bermuda Health Minister’s Comments

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Health Minister Kim Wilson said, “Bermuda has two sources for procuring vaccines against Covid-19. The source that will be here first is through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that is being facilitated by Government House and through direct talks between the Chief Medical Officer and Public Health England.

“Bermuda will be supplied with 9,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and they will arrive on our shores in the first week of January 2021. The Pfizer vaccine is stored at ultra-low temperatures. Most vaccines are refrigerated; but this particular vaccine must be kept in a freezer at -70 degrees Celsius – Arctic conditions.

“The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences [BIOS] has very generously provided the Ministry of Health with an ultra-low temperature freezer; a specialist piece of equipment to supplement the freezers that the Ministry has also procured.

“The second vaccine source is through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Geneva, which is administering the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility [the “COVAX Facility”]. Bermuda has joined the COVAX Facility, and has purchased enough doses to cover 20% of our population. The leading vaccines likely to be received by Bermuda are those by AstraZeneca and Moderna.

“An advantage of the AstraZeneca vaccine is that it does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures; it is compatible with our existing vaccine fridges. The timeframe for receipt of these vaccines through the COVAX Facility is not yet settled.”

Audio of the Health Minister’s comments in Parliament

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