Governor Martyn Roper is urging more members of the public to get the jab, reiterating concern with the slowing vaccine rollout.
“If we are going to safely reopen the borders we do need more people in Cayman to come forward and get the vaccination. So please, please do come and get it,” Roper said as he addressed the issue of declining vaccinations.
He pointed out that making use of the doses available is imperative given the limited shelf life of current supplies and no further shipments heading to the Cayman Islands.
“They expire at the end of June and as governor I certainly don’t want to be in the position where we have to waste vaccines,” Roper told the Cayman Compass Saturday morning at the Rotary Central Cayman Islands Dr. Bill Hrudey Science Fair at the ARC in Camana Bay.
According to the latest vaccination numbers released Friday, 64,494 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in total in the Cayman Islands. A total of 34,939, or 54% of the estimated 65,000 population, have received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and 45% of the adult population have completed the two-dose course.
“We’ve made really good progress, but we clearly have some way to go,” he said.
Roper said the latest numbers are tapering off and there are still some 7,000 people yet to roll-up their sleeves. He said anyone hesitant about the vaccines should watch what is happening around the world.
“Look around the world, just how desperate [the] situation [is] in places like India and Brazil. We have an incredible opportunity to here to vaccinate as many of our people as we can. So I just urge everyone to get the vaccine,” he said.
This week Cayman’s new PACT government took office. Roper said he has not discussed the issue with the administration yet as it was still early days, but he said he does anticipate it will be high on the agenda.
“It is for the new administration to decide what its policy is on this. The UK has provided vaccines which puts us in a very good position. But I think the new government will want to look at this fairly quickly now and take some decisions, but that’s a matter for them rather than me as governor, but I’m just concerned that the vaccine rollout has slowed quite a bit,” he said.
Cayman has benefitted from shipments of 90,000 doses of the vaccine, he said, and it would be terrible to have to waste the opportunity provided to the country.
“I think some of the data coming out of India and Brazil recently shows that it’s younger people getting COVID and they may get it in mildly, but there’s a risk of long COVID and any young person can get COVID mildly would have complications further down the line. Now the vaccine would prevent that happening and they’ve been rolled out to millions of people now, so they’re safe, they’re reliable,” he said.
On Saturday, the BBC reported that Indian hospitals are stretched. The country recorded nearly a million infections in three days, with 346,786 new cases overnight into Saturday.
The situation was a “devastating reminder” of what the coronavirus could do, the WHO said in the report.
Roper, who has been fully vaccinated, said those who may be hesitant to get the shot should speak with a medical professional.
“Try and address those concerns and understand them. You really don’t want to get COVID,” he said.
The latest HSA vaccination schedule is available here.