Column: Vaccines, Business Incentives & More

April 6, 2021

[Opinion column written by the OBA’s Dwayne Robinson]

Bermuda is in a very precarious position in its battle against Covid-19. Our economy is struggling to get its footing and due to the recent surge in cases the CDC has raised our Covid status to level 4. The unfortunate deaths over the Easter weekend, should serve as a wake up call for us that this is a serious virus.

The Government is rightly pushing for “herd immunity” which will provide a strong defense against transmission of Covid, a much-desired relaxation in restrictions, and signal to the world that Bermuda is open for business. To achieve this, we must have over 70% of the population vaccinated. One of the largest hurdles obstructing this goal is vaccine hesitancy.

Many Bermudians are still not sold on the vaccine. Some have extremely valid concerns, and others are being misled by campaigns of misinformation. I applaud the efforts of Dr. Weldon and others in attempting to combat the spread of false information. You cannot change every single mind, but I suggest providing some incentives to encourage more Bermudians who are eligible to get the vaccine. People cannot see the point of getting the vaccine if nothing really changes for them; some need a tangible benefit.

I suggest some small incentives and reprieves that can be negotiated by Government for those who are vaccinated such as:

  • Government partnership with restaurants to provide discounts, to encourage more traffic in our restaurants.
  • Allowing indoor dining with social distancing and mask protocols.
  • Government partnership with hotels to offer discounted staycations to drive more business to the hotels.
  • Retail, movie theaters, and gyms should be able to service vaccinated people under the current restrictions while adhering to social distancing and mask protocols.

I understand the vaccine does not grant immunity and those who are vaccinated still should adhere to safety protocols. I am in no way suggesting the vaccine removes all threat of Covid -19. However, allowing vaccinated people small amenities, not only helps the economy, but gives more reason to get it besides duty to the community.

I take note of the Government’s poor financial position, which is why I believe the incentives should be negotiated with the private sector by Government. The Businesses can safely offer indoor services to the vaccinated, and hopefully make a few extra dollars they are currently losing.

The vaccinated would feel they are getting perks for supporting their island and be prompted to circulate money into the local economy. This might also inspire other business sectors who are in better financial positions to offer up incentives as well. There are many other possible incentives that can be negotiated, I implore Government to consider every option.

I am in no way discriminating or trying to shame those who have decided to not take the vaccine. We are all entitled to our choices and what we deem is safest for our families.

However, I believe that herd immunity is the best way for us to navigate out of this health crisis. I hope many more will step forward to receive the vaccine and that these suggestions are taken into consideration. Please consult your Doctor to receive more information about the vaccine, and only trust accredited sources for your information.

- Dwayne Robinson


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Comments (17)

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  1. clearasmud says:

    Thank you sir I appreciate your effort at suggesting solutions.

  2. Facts are Important says:

    I appreciate open and factual dialogue. Dwayne Robinson is trying which I respect. However, there is a glaring error.
    “ The Government is rightly pushing for “herd immunity” which will provide a strong defense against transmission of Covid, a much-desired relaxation in restrictions, and signal to the world that Bermuda is open for business. To achieve this, we must have over 70% of the population vaccinated.”
    Actually, to achieve herd immunity you must have over 70% achieve immunity. This is achieved in two ways.
    1. By vaccinations
    2. By having had Covid 19 and recovered. Aka natural immunity.
    It is estimated that up to 30% of the US and UK populations have actually had Covid and recovered. Many not even aware that they contracted it as they were young, healthy and asymptomatic.
    So, with both vaccinations and those that have natural
    Immunity through having been infected, we may well achieve 70% long before 70% of the population have been vaccinated.
    This was a glaring oversight by Mr Robinson in his efforts to “encourage” vaccinations.

    • Hey says:

      You clearly are a right wing extremist. Nobody except for right wing extremists want herd immunity through contracting the virus. The virus proves deadly for people, but you are OK with with people losing their life because of it. Absolutely unbelievable and disgusting.

      • Sir Herbert Clifton says:

        You sound like one of the sheep …bahh bahh bahhh

      • Facts are Important says:

        Extremist? Not at all. The truth is always important and right thinking people must always step forward. Why portray half a truth.
        If you read my comment you would understand that Mr Robinson omitted an important point when speaking about herd immunity.
        It is produced in a population and always has been by two sources.
        1. Vaccines
        2. Those acquiring immunity by have contracted the virus. I.e. natural antibodies.
        You may not like that 30% of Bermuda may well already be immune as it doesn’t serve your narrative but, alas, it is the truth.
        Good luck with your aggressive way of responding. You clearly are the bully in the schoolyard.
        70% immunity may well be achieved on our
        Island with a far lower number of people receiving the vaccine.

      • SB says:

        When calculating and discussing ‘herd immunity’ one has to factor in those among the population that are asymptomatic and/or already immune. I’m not sure why you associated this fact with right-wing extremism. Statistically, the virus only proves deadly for older adults, and those adults predisposed through existing illneses.

        The current Bermuda mortality rate is 0.22 deaths per 1000 population; the case fatality rate (disease severity) is 0.95%; and the crude mortality rate is 0.02%. Furthermore, the false positive rate of the PCR test is between 12% and 39% (Oct 20 – present).

        These are are the facts, and your hysterical and erroneous response is not justified.

    • Ricardo says:

      It’s not clear how long those who were previously infected remain immune. From what I’ve read, it seems that the severity of their Covid symptoms is directly proportional to their level of immunity. Therefore, members of our society who were asymptomatic likely don’t have long-lasting immunity. Better to get vaccinated than roll the dice!

      • Facts are Important says:

        Point taken. Conversely, it is not clear how long “the vaccine” provides immunity. Per the BBC today, the UK is already beginning to test “booster” shots for the variants in the UK to be rolled out in the fall. The dice appear to be rolling in both directions no matter your decision in this regard.

    • wowza says:

      Ok sure, what you’re saying is correct. Yet I’m not sure if they want to spread number 2 as a good way to be given immunity. There may be some immature people who say that they want to go out and catch covid so they don’t need the vaccine. On the flip side a lot of people don’t actually want to admit to people that they had the virus, which gave them immunity.

      • Reese says:

        You still sound very unintelligent in your arguement. 1) discrimination
        You want the people who are unwilling to be vaccinated to be treated differently?
        What happened to personal choice? I have to be vaccinated for the safety of everyone else when the vaccine doesnt protect any one from contracting or spreading the virus? This is not misinformation. How about the many people suffering from side effects and families dealing with deaths due to vaccination? Fake statistics I guess huh? How about the number of people that have died from covid after being vaccinated? I guess those numbers are fake too huh? My advice .. stop spreading your opinions without facts. Repeating what you’ve heard instead of doing any real research.
        2) Imagine Gov forcing you and your loved ones to fight in a war you are not prepared for. Imagine Gov forcing you to worship a religion that isn’t your own. Now imagine your Gov forcing you to get a vaccine by companies that cant be sued if complications or death occurs. Why is that? The truth is, they rushed this vaccine out before completing all mandatory protocols that were put in place to protect, even the unintelligent people out here. Would you feel safe letting an unlicensed and unexperienced (not having nearly enough hours of flight time) pilot fly the aircraft that you and your family are on? Why not? Because it just might end up being a very short flight huh?

        I suggest not to post anything unintelligent. You see we are allowed our opinions to be heard right no matter how foolish they sound. Well we also have a right to decide as individuals what we choose to put into our bodies, regardless of what the Gov suggests. Stop repeating what others say and do the research for yourself. You as well Mr. Robinson. Cant believe you want to penalize or restrict how unvaccinated people can operate and move about within their own country because of a personal decision not to allow their bodies to be injected with foreign entities? This is what we are doing in Bermuda? Thought Bermuda was another world but our political representation is pushing us to be just like every where else. Oba will never get my vote with this kind of ideology that their representatives have.

        • wowza says:

          Excuse me!? All of what you just wrote about was not even relevant to my points. I was giving my opinion on number 2 of “Facts are Important” at the beginning. It sounds like you just needed a personal rant honestly. Firstly, calling my opinion unintelligent is rude, especially when you didn’t mention any of it in your comment. If you want to rebuttal what I said, do it, because you didn’t. You just brought up your own opinions, which are completely valid even though I don’t believe the same.
          Secondly, you state that I should not post anything “unintelligent”, but then continue to say that “we are allowed our opinions to be heard no matter how foolish they sound”. So I can share my concerns/opinions but you can basically call me stupid for listening to not only the Bermudian government but the recommendations of doctors and foreign governments all around the world who are successful in getting rid of the virus. How did the UK only have 10 deaths in that day a few days ago?? …because of the vaccines, they work.
          Of course personally, I believe that it’s a personal opinion. I believe in my body my choice, however the world’s cases are decreasing yet Bermuda’s is increasing. People need to think carefully about what kind of life they want, and if they’re ready to wear a mask forever, go ahead. But if you want the benefits of ensuring safety to the public, that sounds like a better option to me.
          You really need to check what you’re writing before you offend people for their opinions whilst also saying that you have the rights to yours.

    • Unbelievable says:

      I hope you’re not presenting some of your comments as “facts”? Lol Reads more like conjecture.

  3. Toodle-oo says:

    A nice reward would be a discount on our health insurance premium.

  4. Facts says:

    The UBPoba has a history of discrimination thus the reason for a name change and a 30 v 6 beat down the last election.

  5. Awesome says:

    I love the tone and suggestions of this article!! Well done, Mr. Dwayne Robinson. Talk to Dunkley because his last opinion piece was absolutely ridiculous!! There’s hope for OBA.

  6. Opinons Matter says:

    Should the unvaccinated wear a patch or something so they can be noticed?

  7. This is discrimination says:

    No matter how you word it, it’s blatant discrimination. Who are you to tell anyone the need to inject experimental vaccine to get benefits. There is currently no liability for those vaccine companies due to a emergency provisions act. You all are acting like it will make things go to normal here it won’t… at bermudas current numbers 10% of all cases active are fully vaccinated people. If you do the math to match the sample sizes it works out to be for every 5 unvaxed people who catch it 2 vaxed will get it too. It’s flu shot 2.0 if you look at the data for effectiveness. We all have mixed opinions about this situation… But noone should be discriminated against for our own personal choices.