The United States gave full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the Pfizer vaccine on Monday 23rd August, which means that millions more people in the United States will be able to get vaccinated. In an interview with CNN, the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that full federal approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine would make a huge difference to American businesses and universities, as they would be able to require vaccinations once the Pfizer version got approval. It should encourage those Americans who had, up until now, been hesitant to get the vaccine to get vaccinated, Dr Murthy said.
Up until Monday, the Pfizer vaccine had been administered under an emergency use authorisation. The Pfizer vaccine was available for residents in the Cayman Islands in January of this year, when the UK began a series of shipments to ensure Cayman’s residents could protect themselves from Covid-19.
In a brief statement on Tuesday morning the Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon Sabrina Turner stated that the Cayman Islands Government has taken careful note of USFDA’s full approval of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine.
“This approval demonstrates what we have stated all along which is that vaccines developed to fight the COVID-19 disease meets the highest standards of the international health sector.
For Cayman Islands residents yet to be vaccinated, we hope that the FDA approval will allay any remaining fears concerning the safety of the vaccine.
We urge everyone to their due diligence and then to take the vaccine. It is our best protection against the disease as individuals and as a community”’ she added.
The approval of the Pfizer vaccine in the US comes at a time when the Delta variant has spread rapidly and has caused a surge in cases, particularly in Florida. While it is possible for vaccinated people to get the virus, by far the majority of Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths in America are among unvaccinated people. Covid-19 has become a disease of the unvaccinated there.
With this final authorisation hurdle about to be overcome in the US, it is hoped that anybody reticent to have the Pfizer vaccine in Cayman will now be reassured as to the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
Cayman’s Government has said it will not begin to open borders (with phase three of the reopening plan set for 9th September) until 80 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated. That meant that 80 per cent of the population would have had to have their first vaccination on or before 19th August 2021 in order to be fully vaccinated by 9th September (allowing for the three-week period before the second jab). As it stands, only 72 per cent have had their first vaccination and 69 per cent their second, so clearly that target is now unattainable for 9th September.
A government Press Briefing has been scheduled for 3pm on Wednesday