By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
AT least 70 percent of doctors in the Consultant Physicians Staff Association have been vaccinated against COVID-19, CPSA President Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said yesterday.
“CPSA members have been doing very well with vaccinations from a while back,” she explained yesterday. “Our members, the majority, have been vaccinated at least a month past.
“A lot of our members, most of them had the shot even before there was the Pfizer (option available locally).”
In August, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan said only about 50 percent of the country’s healthcare workers were vaccinated at the time, which officials said was cause for concern.
That same month, National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee Chairperson Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis revealed that three unvaccinated healthcare workers were hospitalised with the virus at the time. She encouraged healthcare workers to get vaccinated.
“We know now that there is no scientific merit to claims that the vaccine is unsafe. It is the responsible role of health professionals to become vaccinated and not to put themselves in jeopardy nor infect their families and loved ones. I implore all to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr Dahl-Regis said in August.
That same month Family Island physician Dr Charles Edward Wildgoose III lost a short battle to COVID-19. Dr Wildgoose was not vaccinated.
After the figures were revealed, two unions representing healthcare workers — CPSA and the Bahamas Nurses Union — questioned the data.
“We have never had a problem at all in individuals getting vaccinated,” BNU President Amancha Williams said in a previous interview. “Vaccinations, at the end of the day, should be a choice. Everyone has a choice in taking it.
“How can they say only 50 percent of the healthcare workers are vaccinated when persons went off to the States to get vaccinated? So we don’t see that as a true picture. I think it’s more. They went to the States to get vaccinated because they wanted choices for their families.
“The union encourages nurses with comorbidities and difficulties to go into counselling and find out from their doctors in order to make the right choice. If it is, then get vaccinated because we don’t want you to die.”
For his part, Dr John Dillett, vice president of the CPSA, was doubtful of the figure given in August.
“We know that they have cited those statistics some months ago so we have to query as to whether or not that is accurate,” Dr Dillett said previously. “We would be appreciative if they provide the sources of this data for public consumption so that we can truly understand and see if that is still the case. I feel it has changed significantly over the past months.
“As a union, we do support our members in taking the vaccine. We do acknowledge that it is a personal decision and each individual has to make that decision with family and their personal physicians giving advice. In the health community, certainly the majority of health officials and medical and clinical staff do support the vaccine.”