The arrival of the third shipment of COVID-19 vaccines has assured that Cayman’s voluntary inoculation programme will continue on course.
This latest consignment contains approximately 15000 doses, the largest consignment so far.
It brings to 38000 the number of Pfizer-BioNTech doses supplied to the jurisdiction so far by the British government.
At the same time, the vaccination programme is making good headway with the number of vaccines administered to date at 15,543 including 6,371 people who have had the required two-dose course.
HE Governor Martyn Roper said on Friday, “My office remains in discussion with the UK regarding further consignments of the Pfizer vaccine. We continue to make good progress with our vaccination programme.”
While taking the vaccine is voluntary, he continues to urge the public to take the jab.
“I encourage you all to take your vaccine – both first and second doses, when invited to do so. It is increasingly evident they are very safe and effective. It is the best way to protect yourself and everyone in the community from serious illness.”
There have been some questions and issues of preferences about vaccines.
However, the Governor Martyn Roper says the World Health Organisation (WHO) as their advisory committee on immunisation confirmed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is effective and they recommend its use globally and for all age groups.
Research in the UK has shown that shows the AstraZeneca jab protects well against the new 'UK/Kent' variant of COVID-19 which is now dominant in much of Britain and spreading elsewhere.
Emergency WHO authorisation of the UK-developed Oxford-AstraZeneca is exp[ected next week for global deployment.
Mr Roper says this is welcome reassurance of the vital role that AstraZeneca, and the UK, continue to play in reducing the impact of the pandemic.
FIVE MORE CASES
Meanwhile, as testing continues in Cayman alongside the vaccine roll-out especially on arriving travellers, a further five positive cases have been found.
That brings the number of active cases to 36.
To date, 416 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Cayman since the outbreak last year of which 378 have recovered.
There are presently 905 persons in isolation.
Cayman has carried out 70,163 COVID-19 tests.
CLOSER QUARANTINE MONITORING
As the pandemic continues with many countries in various modes of lockdown or residents under extensive restrictions, concern is mounting over growing incidents of quarantine breaches.
This has led to a spike in cases in several places. In Montserrat (pop. 4,500 appx) which hasn’t had a single case since last July, a recent quarantine breach has caused an outbreak of six cases over the past two weeks.
Cayman and other countries have also had similar challenges, some very high-profile.
As a result, stiffer penalties and tighter monitoring are being introduced.
Travel Cayman which is responsible for managing the arrival and quarantine protocols has set up a system for the public to report suspected quarantine breaches confidentially.
The 24-hour Breach Tips Hotline number is 943-7233 (943 SAFE).
Director of Travel Cayman, Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia said: “The addition of the hotline will add another layer of protection to further strengthen our protocols to safeguard the community against COVID-19.”
Violation of Cayman’s quarantine regulations carries a penalty fine of up to CI$10,000 and a two-year prison sentence.