Leader of the Opposition Roy McTaggart is encouraging everyone across Cayman who has not yet been vaccinated to do so “as soon as possible”.
In a voice note disseminated via WhatsApp, McTaggart stressed: “It is really important to protect the health and wellbeing of all of us, including our loved ones.”
He added that vaccination is essential to ensure the borders can safely reopen in the months to come.
“Folks, we cannot stay in a bubble for ever,” McTaggart warned.
According to numbers issued by the Ministry of Health on Friday, 65,991 vaccines have been administered in Cayman to date.
That’s 311 more than last reported.
So far, 35,774 (55% of the estimated population of 65,000) have received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
46% have completed the two-dose course.
The plea from the leader of the Opposition comes after Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee, Governor Martyn Roper and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK’s minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, reiterated similar requests this week, as Cayman’s vaccination rate has begun to drop off from its peak in March.
In a press release issued yesterday, Lord Ahmad stressed that the “supply of vaccines cannot be taken for granted and each batch has a limited shelf life”.
He added: “In Cayman, the expiry date for the remaining vaccines is 30 June. I must therefore implore everyone who can, to take the vaccine, not only for themselves, but to protect their friends and family, and do their part to ensure you can re-open borders and restart your economy.
“Whilst the first wave of COVID-19 was a shock, we have seen the spread of more infectious variants in the UK, Gibraltar and Bermuda were much harder to contain and led to more deaths. This is regrettably a phenomenon which many other countries are also experiencing. Now is not the time to wait and see, the vaccines are safe and effective, by getting vaccinated you will be helping your community.”
Earlier this week, Dr. Lee implored those who have not yet received their COVID-19 shots to ensure they get their first dose by 9 June as the vaccines on island will expire at the end of that month.
“COVID-19 is raging around the globe but the Cayman Islands has the precious resource of vaccinations – let’s not waste this gift in the face of the world’s gaze,” he said.
Governor Martyn Roper also spoke out to urge the public to get the jab.
“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 last weekend.
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.
AstraZeneca vaccine available
Additionally, the Health Services Authority announced on Friday that there is now a “very limited supply” of the AstraZeneca vaccine available to persons who are unable to take the Pfizer vaccine due to medical reasons or otherwise prefer to take this vaccine.
According to the press release, the AstraZeneca vaccine will only be administered on Saturday, 1 May and Monday, 3 May at the ORIA Vaccination Clinic.
The first dose of the vaccine must be administered no later than Monday to ensure the second dose is administered by its expiration date of 31 May 31 2021. AstraZeneca requires a 28-day interval between each dose. This vaccine has been approved for persons 18 years and older.