The Government has confirmed that all vaccine supplies sent from the UK will be used before their expiry date.
As of Tuesday, 1st June, the number of persons in Cayman who have received the first dose reached 44,122 people, while 38,025 people have received both doses.
“This is cause for celebration,” said Hon. Premier Wayne Panton. “Many of you were reluctant, had questions or doubts. Whatever the reasons for hesitation, you have not allowed them to stop you from accessing what is the best available option for us. I and my Cabinet colleagues thank you deeply. We must continue on this road, as our destination is just within our reach.”
Hon. Minister of Health & Wellness, Sabrina Turner, echoed the Premier and urged Caymanians and all other residents to ensure that they and their loved ones benefit from the protection offered by the vaccine.
A government release said, the Cayman Islands has currently vaccinated 68% of the population with at least one dose of vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Fifty nine percent have completed a two-dose course. This compares favourably to countries with some of the highest vaccination rates in the world, such as Israel. Current local vaccination rates by age are as follows:
49% of those aged 16 to 30 years of age have had at least one dose (24% two months ago)
63% of those aged 30 to 40 years of age have had at least one dose (36% two months ago), and
73% of those aged 40 to 50 years of age have had at least one dose (44% two months ago)
the large majority of those over 50 years of age have had one dose.
Anyone still in need of a vaccination is urged to visit the Health Services Authority (HSA) website for the latest version of the vaccination schedule. “Healthcare professionals are working very hard to ensure that this important safeguard is as accessible as possible across our community,” the government statement added.
Min. Turner said: “We are deeply grateful to the management and staff of the Public Health Department and Health Services Authority, for their continuing work on this Herculean task. They have managed the delivery of the vaccine with vigour and a heartfelt commitment to safeguarding our citizens and residents.”
According to the press release, the Cayman Islands remains committed to achieving the highest possible vaccination rates because this offers the best possible protection to the public. While some variants of concern might not be as susceptible to the vaccine as the original virus, research suggests that vaccines will prevent serious illness.
It added: “The Government wishes to express its gratitude to the Governor’s Office, and to the United Kingdom (UK) Government which has provided the vaccine at no cost, since the first shipment in January 2021. The UK will continue to supply the entire eligible population of the Overseas Territories with vaccines, including booster shots if needed later this year.
“Credit also goes to the many stakeholders and supporters who have advocated for this vital initiative, including Governments present and past, the public service and the private sector.”
A Vaccination Challenge, led by the Ministry of Tourism, which was supported and promoted by Government and businesses, has seen a boost in the uptake of the vaccination in recent weeks both on Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman.
“This effort has only enjoyed the success that it has thanks to the contributions of all concerned”, remarked Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kenneth Bryan.
“The vaccine is an essential part of the recovery process for the local economy but also the global economy on which we depend. With this objective in mind, we look forward to working with all of you to keep our loved ones and friends across the Cayman Islands community safe now and long into the future”, Mr Bryan added.
Noting that the Cayman Islands is now expected to use all vaccine supplies received from the UK before the end of June, His Excellency, The Governor Martyn Roper confirmed the UK Government would send an additional delivery on 16 June.
“This means that all those college students arriving back in the Cayman Islands from overseas can now be vaccinated when they get out of quarantine. We expect that the new doses will not expire until the end of September.”
Mr Roper went on to say: “I know that many people are keen to vaccinate the younger members of their family so that they can travel safely and enjoy shorter periods of quarantine on return to Cayman. Despite the US and Canadian regulators approving Pfizer for 12-15 year olds, the UK regulator has yet to do so. I understand UK regulatory approval is expected soon and once it is received, we will have the green light to proceed with vaccinating that group.
“I am very grateful to the Premier, Ministers, Dr Lee, HSA, Public Health, the private sector and the wider community for the successful campaign on vaccine take-up to ensure we did not waste this precious resource. We can all be proud of our vaccine roll-out in the Cayman Islands, a further demonstration of the success we have had responding to this global pandemic.”