Cayman recorded two milestones this past week as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The jurisdiction past an impressive 10,000 vaccinations in the ongoing national voluntary vaccination programme.
This means that the entire first consignment of the Pfizer-BionTech drug received at the beginning of January have been administered plus already over 2,000 doses from the second shipment which arrived at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Cayman this week recorded its 400th case since the outbreak of the pandemic last year and the first case found here in March.
There have only been two deaths which have been attributed to the COVID-19 virus.
Cayman continues to have a comparatively low incidence of the disease and its testing and vaccination remain among the highest rates regionally and globally.
Commenting on the vaccine roll-out, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said, “I am really pleased with the roll-out of our vaccination programme in the Cayman Islands, and want to thank everyone who has stepped forward so far.”
Despite some vaccine resistance by a minority of individuals, public interest in receiving the jabs is so high that health officials have had to resort to using the large arrivals hall at the Owen Roberts International Airport to cope with the demand and reduce congestion in the long queues evident at several clinics.
“I encourage those of you who are eligible to take it,” CMO Dr Lee has appealed to residents.
“The vaccine is a great tool in our fight against this deadly disease, and in time as travel increases, it will protect us from COVID-19’s deadliest effects. Please help protect our whole community and have the vaccine when you are eligible,” he said.
Since the borders were initially opened to limited capacity travel last October, confirmed COVID-19 cases have generally been linked to incoming travellers with the recent discovery of a case of the highly contagious UK variant of the virus in one traveller heightening safety precautions.
Premier Alden McLaughlin who had previously indicated a projected date of March for further opening of the borders and the economy, has now set a threshold of 90 per cent of the population being vaccinated as a precondition.
The emergence of new, more transmissible variants of the virus is a concern for governments ad health officials worldwide.
However, early indications are that the UK, South African and Brazilian variants which are presently the main cause of concern, are not considered to be more deadly than the original strain.
Ongoing research suggests that vaccines now being deployed and those in developed could be modified to suppress these and any other variants as they develop.
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