Over 2,000 persons have been vaccinated in just over a week since the National COVID-19 Vaccination campaign started.
The first consignment of 9,750 doses from the British government arrived in Cayman on January 5th.
In an interview with Caymanian Times newspaper, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr John Lee said the success of the vaccination programme is critical in ensuring timely delivery of further consignments.
“The UK have said that they will provide enough vaccines for the population of the entire island, there is no reason for me to doubt that commitment, but clearly they want to try to match our demand with our deliveries,” he told the paper’s publisher and CEO Ralph Lewis in a one-on-one interview.
With a variant of the COVID-19 virus a rapidly spreading globally, the CMO is urging residents of the Cayman Islands to get inoculated to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community.
Getting the jab is voluntary and no appointment is necessary at this stage, he explained.
“It’s a walk-up (with no prior appointment required), so we are recording their names and contact details, should there be an issue and we need to contact them for any reason.”
The campaign is being rolled out in three stages starting with over-70s and frontline workers and working through various age and occupational groups.
The schedule for Phase One runs until January 22nd at the various clinics.
“We are also recording occupational groups so that we can provide reports on age, so we know how many people in parts have been done, how many in healthcare, and how many people in hospitality and so on,” Dr Lee told Caymanian Times.
He reminded that presently there’s no need for an appointment to get the vaccine.
“I suspect there would be an appointment but it’s only when vaccination rates continue to drift off,” he added.
The CMO was also asked about the link between the rate of vaccinations here, the expiry date of the current batch and replenishment supplies.
“Our expiry date is some time at the end of March,” he said.
“The Governor has announced that he expects a further shipment to arrive; and it’s good that there are different clinics now, opening up around the islands. If we can get several thousand done during the first week of our programme that would very much encourage the UK to say, ‘Good, we are going to push it out’.
“They do not want us to run out of any vaccine. The UK have said that they will provide enough vaccines for the entire population. There is no reason for me to doubt that commitment, but clearly they want to try to match our demand with our deliveries,” the CMO said.
In his interview with Caymanian Times, Dr Lee said he hoped the trust and confidence showed by the public in the management of the pandemic here “will translate to a good and high uptake.”
“We need to imagine a time when COVID is something that we have come to live with, and is fairly prevalent in the community, but because a large portion of the population have been vaccinated it doesn’t cause the enormous amount of sickness and pain and death that accompanies it now.”
The CMO also emphasized the importance of public education about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and advised residents to ignore misinformation being spread.