By Lindsey Turnbull
The Cayman Islands is to get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine shortly, thanks to the United Kingdom providing the vaccine to its citizens in its British Overseas Territories, and the Government is encouraging everyone who is eligible to get a vaccine to save the lives of their loved ones.
While there are many Covid vaccines currently in different stages of trials, the Pfizer/BioNTech version is the very first in the world to be approved for mass vaccination, with the UK leading the way in approving its usage, followed just recently by Canada and others closely behind.
The vaccine offers up to 95 per cent protection against Covid-19 and has been thoroughly tested in clinical trials in six countries – the US, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey – and has been approved for use by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, albeit at rapid speed. The speed at which the vaccine has been produced is partly down to the fact that it is based upon existing science, as scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2002 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012. That early research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against the virus that causes Covid-19.
In the Cayman Islands, it is anticipated that there will be sufficient vaccinations for at least 65 per cent of the population, or 44,200 people. It will be administered to adults only, with a three-tiered system in place as to the timing of who is to receive it. As with the UK, healthcare and frontline workers will be the first people to be vaccinated. The vaccine is given in two injections, 21-days apart. The person will not be fully vaccinated until they have had their second shot.
The vaccine is not compulsory in the Cayman Islands, but everyone who is eligible is strongly encouraged to have the vaccine so the Islands can begin to go back to normality sooner rather than later. Covid can have serious life-threatening complications and there is no way of knowing how it will affect an individual, should they get it. Someone with Covid can have no symptoms at all, they can have mild symptoms, they can have severe symptoms and they can even die.
Pregnant women should not get vaccinated, however those who have already had Covid should get vaccinated as there have been cases of re-infection with Covid. People who are immunocompromised, such as those with HIV, should be given a Covid vaccination. Children and people under 18 will not be vaccinated at this time, as they are at a very low risk of developing severe symptoms from the disease. At the moment, the length of time of protection the vaccine provides is unknown. A follow up booster might be need in the months ahead.
Public Health’s website will soon have the information needed as to where you can get your Covid vaccine.
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Get vaccinated and save lives
• Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arriving soon
• Vaccination is two injections, administered 21 days apart
• Side effects are minimal: local pain around the injection site, fatigue, headache
• The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is up to 95% effective
• The vaccine is free although doctors might charge for administering it
• 65% of the population/44,200 people can be vaccinated