Government has shifted gears in its national vaccination plan, opting now to administer all its available Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.
The change follows confirmation from Governor Martyn Roper that Cayman’s second vaccine shipment, containing a further 9,750 doses, will arrive on 28 Jan.
Roper, through a press release issued by the Ministry of Health Friday, indicated that the UK is also making arrangements for a third delivery in February.
Government will now move to inoculate 9,750 people using the first batch of the vaccines, which arrived last week aboard a British Airways flight.
With this announcement, everyone who is eligible for an inoculation under stage one of the national vaccination plan – including those 60 and over, health workers and frontline staff dealing with travellers – can now receive a shot.
Initially, health officials had indicated the vaccines would be given in two doses 21 days apart, enough to cover 4,875 people.
However, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee, in the release, confirmed that policy has now been modified to increase the number of people being vaccinated in the first round of inoculations.
Stage 1, Group A
- Residents and staff of institutional facilities
- Individuals aged 70+
- Healthcare workers and first responders
- All frontline staff dealing with incoming travellers
Stage 1, Group B
- Adults 60+ or with a relevant health status (ie: heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened immune system)
Stage 1, Group C
- Workers essential to government continuity
“The vaccines arriving later this month will be used for the second dose for persons who have received their first dose,” said Lee. “We are monitoring continuously the quantities available and will open up the various stages according to our supply.”
With more than 4,000 people already receiving their first dose, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said the uptake of the vaccine has been very positive with many people eager to get protected from the virus.
“We ask that persons wait until their stage and group are opened to come forward so that we can ensure our most vulnerable have access to the vaccine,” Williams-Rodriguez added.
Public Health, the release said, has also been providing vaccines to home care patients, as they are more at risk from the virus.
Patients receiving home care from a private physician can contact Public Health to arrange a vaccination to be administered in their residences.
Williams-Rodriguez said now that vaccinations have been opened to all in the first stage, individuals aged 60 and over, and people suffering with heart, lung or kidney disease, or a weakened immune system, are now eligible to get the vaccination.
“Our nurses determine eligibility for those receiving the vaccines and some persons have been turned away and asked that they return during their appropriate stage. We are keeping some reserves for anyone in Stage 1 who has not been able to access the vaccine during this initial campaign,” he said.
Williams-Rodriguez said although the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine comes in five-dose vials, the ones Cayman received “often provide for six doses, which is increasing the numbers we are able to reach; this is in line with supplies around the world”.
Lee expressed gratitude to all of the Public Health nurses and other staff at the Health Services Authority who have pulled together to launch this vaccination campaign.
“They have done an amazing job so far, and I know it has involved a great deal of hard work and long days,” he said.
People receiving the vaccine must wear a face mask, present a government photo ID and sign the COVID-19 vaccine consent form.
Public Health added Sister Islands residents who qualify for inoculations in stage one and would like to receive the vaccine should call 925-1190.