Column: “Please Take The Vaccine”

October 2, 2021

[Opinion column written by the OBA's Dr Douglas DeCouto]

Please allow me to add my voice to the chorus: “please take the vaccine”. Twelve is the magic number.

As of September 18, unvaccinated Bermudians were 12.6 times more likely to die from Covid than those who were vaccinated. [1] Taking the vaccine decreases your likelihood of dying from Covid by over ten times. If this was Cup Match, you’d be putting canaries on the Crown and Anchor table all day long for that bet! With your SafeKey and mask on of course.

Chance of dying from Covid

In the United States, that number ranges from 5 time to 85 times, depending on the state. In most states it’s at least a factor of 10 times. [2]

Many people not yet ready to take the vaccine have questions, which is understandable. I hope they will consult their trusted personal physician, but here are some common questions:

“Isn’t the vaccine brand new? How can I trust it, it’s not been tested?” The mechanism of how the vaccine works has been used in cancer vaccine human trials for at least ten years. So it’s well-known how these work and affect people. [3] Plus we have the experience of hundreds of millions of people around the world having taken Covid vaccine now.

“What about the side effects? Can’t people die from the vaccine?” About 21 people per million are reported to have died after taking the J&J vaccine, although it’s not known if that vaccine actually caused the deaths [4]. The current Covid death rate in the United States is 100 to 1,000 per million. That is, you are 5 to 50 times more likely to die from Covid than taking the vaccine. [5]

If you’re still not comfortable with those odds, here’s are some common risks that people choose to take every day, because the benefits are worth it. Women who take birth control pills have a 3-10 in a million chance of dying from a blood clot [6]. And around 200 women per million die giving live birth in the US. [7] Finally, in the United States, you have a 1 in 100 chance of dying in a traffic accident – but people still drive! [8].

“I can beat it”. We all know someone who has driven drunk and got home in one piece. But we don’t do it. We know the pain when we see funerals from drunk driving every year. Pretending you can “beat” Covid is like pretending “we’re good” to drive home. We wouldn’t take that risk of hurting our loved ones, let’s not with the coronavirus.

I’m not a medical doctor, but I have a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I spent a decade learning how to be a scientist, and working as one. Now, I currently work in risk management in the insurance industry. So I have spent my education and career looking at numbers and using them to draw conclusions and make decisions.

For Covid, the numbers don’t lie, and the decision is clear: take the vaccine. Save your life. Save a friend’s life.

- Dr Douglas DeCouto


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covid-19 divider 1

You can find more information on the links below from our dedicated website, which is the most comprehensive resource and historic record available of Bermuda’s handling of the pandemic.

  • All Charts: Vaccine, testing & more here
  • Timelines: Dates of major developments here
  • Test results: Chart of testing stats here
  • Vaccine: Data covering vaccinations here
  • Dedicated website:

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Comments (1)

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  1. Vote for Me says:

    Good morning
    You note you use your training in a professional capacity at work. Surely your superficial comments would not be accepted in a professional environment.

    You will note the following
    The current recovery rate in Bermuda is 72%
    The fatality rate is less than 2%
    A significant majority of unvaccinated Bermudians recover from the virus

    As a scientist, please provide an analysis of the deaths thus far.
    What are the age ranges of people that have died? please use 5 year age bands
    How many died without any other complications (for example asthma, pre existing health problems, respiratory problems etc). We have no idea if otherwise healthy individuals are dying from covid
    What was the racial breakdown of all victims
    What was their job category?
    What therapeutic intervention was provided once they were ill
    Did any of the families decide on a DNR status for the patient which limited attempts to save the patient?
    After you have that information, complete a similar analysis of everyone who contracted the virus and subsequently recovered

    In the absence of the requested information, you demonstrate your intended or unintended bias in perpetuating the myth that vaccination is the only tool against the pandemic.