Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin is urging residents to “collectively once again come together to do the right thing and get vaccinated and protected against the virus.”
He was speaking at a government press conference a few hours after he along with other senior government and health officials took the first jab in Cayman to start the National COVID-19 vaccination programme.
In a direct challenge to those persons who question this and other vaccines - otherwise known as anti-vaxxers - the Premier had this message:
”Today, going forward we have this opportunity again with this vaccine, but I'm afraid that the doubters are again raising their heads and creating unnecessary fear and concern around the safety of the vaccines. My people we did not let the doubters win last time and I implore you to not let them win this time.”
Mr McLaughlin pointed to his own decision to be vaccinated today.
“The governor, the minister and other elected members, as well as senior doctors, took the vaccine this morning because we know it is safe and we know it is the right thing to do,” he said.
The Premier also emphasised the important link between the vaccination campaign, reopening the borders and the implications for the economy.
“We know the hardships we have faced because our borders have for the most part been closed for the past nine months,” he stated.
Mr McLaughlin also stressed that the vaccine roll-out will be the “best hope” going forward given the challenges of maintaining the current system of arrival protocols including quarantining.
“Everyone coming here must be quarantined at not insignificant cost for two weeks not to mention the inconvenience and the challenge of being confined for that length of time. They must be tested on arrival and again before they can leave quarantine.”
The premier admitted that “this is not a process that we can keep up indefinitely.”
“Our borders cannot remain closed forever and we will not be able to maintain the bubble that we have created indefinitely. This vaccine is our best hope in the long term to continue protecting health and life for came on and the world.”
He again urged the public to get vaccinated, especially mindful of new strains of the COVID-19 virus now circulating.
“Two new strains of the virus that are much more infectious is an additional challenge. As a country, we have come through the worst of this crisis, but we now need to provide everyone with the best chance possible to maintain the gains that we have made.”
"In doing so will also protect our way of life and helped get back even more of the life we once knew.”
According to Premier McLaughlin, "Last year was a tougher time than any of us can remember and we are not out of the woods yet.”