The National Voluntary COVID-19 Vaccination campaign is continuing apace in Cayman with several important developments from this week.
Starting Wednesday January 27th, Stage Two of the campaign will begin alongside the administering of the second dose to those persons who have received their first injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Cayman is following the manufacturer’s recommendation of administering the second dose 21 days after the first shot, unlike in the UK where there's an ongoing debate between the health authorities and Pfizer over the interval between shots.
Another significant development this week in the vaccination programme is the arrival of the second consignment of 9,750 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from the UK on Thursday January 28th.
With the high level of interest shown by the public in getting inoculated against the virus, the next stage of the campaign will also see the Owen Roberts International Airport being used both as a testing centre for arrivals as well as a mass vaccination centre.
This move is intended to reduce the amount of congestion being experienced at the vaccination clinics due to the high demand.
Commenting on the programme so far, Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee said he is “pleased to see the excitement to get the vaccine.”
He is urging the public to follow the schedule as the roll-out moves into Stage Two.
“It’s important that we continue to focus our first efforts on the vulnerable as they are at most risk of a poor outcome should they contract COVID-19,” Dr Lee said.
“We ask that persons please be patient and come for the vaccine when your stage and group are called.”
Similar to Stage 1, Stage 2 will be broken into two groups and will begin with all persons over the age of 16 with a medical condition who are vulnerable.
The Public is reminded to adhere to the published schedule to limit congestion at the various vaccination sites.
An official advisory “strongly encourages” persons over 60 years old to get the vaccine “as they are some of the most vulnerable and we want to keep them protected when our borders open.”
It further urges persons who are house-bound and unable to attend one of the vaccination clinics to contact the Flu Hotline or their local HSA District Health Centre to make arrangements for a Public Health nurse to administer the vaccine “in the comfort of your home.”
With the second batch of the 9,750 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arriving on Thursday, the second round of shots will start promptly with those persons who have received the first shot.
They are reminded that the date noted on their vaccination card for the second dose is the ‘earliest date’ in which they can receive the vaccine.
Meantime, CMO Dr Lee has spoken of how impressed he has been with the health team for their hard work in the roll-out of the vaccination programme which has been a huge undertaking.
“I’d like to again thank the Public Health team who has been working tirelessly to help disseminate this vaccine the community,” he said.
“This team provides many services to our community including the COVID vaccines, COVID testing, home healthcare and child immunisations. This can be a stressful time for all as we are all working through the complexities of a global pandemic, so I ask that we all remember to be Cayman-Kind.” he added.