The fluid situation of the COVID-19 virus and pandemic continues to occupy the attention of health experts, government authorities and residents of Cayman.
The first consignment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is due on the BA flight arriving on January 5th with “enough vaccines initially for 5000 people”, according to HE Governor Martyn Roper.
He said that “that will be the 2 dose Pfizer vaccine and discussions are underway on future supplies.”
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee has welcomed the news that a second vaccine has now been approved in the developed by Oxford University and the company AstraZeneca.
According to the CMO, “This is good news for the Cayman Islands as the greater the availability of vaccines means the quicker we will be able to get our most vulnerable protected by vaccination and move onto a surer footing in reopening our borders.”
The government is pinning the eventual full reopening of the borders, and especially restarting the key tourism sector, on a successful vaccination programme.
“All of us are also watching carefully the development of new strains of this coronavirus, especially those that are more infectious,” Dr Lee has stated.
The CMO admitted in his statement that “Cayman does not currently have gene sequencing technology although we are looking into this which will have widespread applications not only in monitoring infectious disease outbreaks (including COVID-19, Dengue and Zika) but also in the field of cancer management."
A debate has started in the UK among medical experts and vaccine manufacturers over the gap between administering the first and second dose of the drug.
UK health authorities have said they will give the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines 12 weeks apart, but Pfizer has said its tests were based on two doses 21 days apart.
CASE COUNT CREEPS UP
Cayman ended 2020 with fewer people in quarantine but a further eight cases have been confirmed, six of which were asymptomatic and two displaying symptoms.
The number of people in quarantine was down by more than half at the end of December to just over 600 after peaking at around 1,500 in November.
Year-end statistics showed that Cayman had recorded 338 COVID-19 cases in 2020 of which 294 have recovered.
There were 42 active cases. In all, 60,382 COVID-19 tests were carried out in the jurisdiction during the past year.
There have only been two fatalities here directly related to the pandemic.