The Cayman Islands government confirmed today, 1 June, that all its free vaccine supplies from the United Kingdom will be used before their expiry date at the end of this month, and a new batch of vaccines is set to arrive on 16 June.
As of today, 44,122 people, or 68% of the population, had received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while 38,025 people, or 59%, have received the full course of two doses.
“This is cause for celebration,” said Premier Wayne Panton in a statement. “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.”
Last month, the PACT government launched a renewed vaccination effort, with several of its members getting their first doses. The ‘Vaccination Challenge’ involved the establishment of a prize draw, in which anyone getting their first dose by 9 June would have a chance to win one of hundreds of prizes. Anyone getting the first dose also received a free burger from Burger King and a beer from the Cayman Islands Brewery.
The Cayman Islands Tourism Association and R3 Cayman Foundation have also launched a draw in which people getting vaccinated can win a US$10,000 cash prize, as well as a variety of products and services from local tourism businesses worth a total of $15,000.
The government thanked the Governor’s Office and the UK government for providing the vaccines free of charge since January this year, and confirmed that the UK would continue to supply the entire eligible population of Cayman with vaccines, including booster shots if needed later this year.
Governor Martyn Roper said the next batch of vaccines is expected to arrive on the 16 June British Airways flight.
“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,” Roper said in the statement.
He added, “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.”
In today’s statement, the government said Cayman’s rate of inoculation compares favourably to countries with some of the highest vaccination rates in the world, such as Israel.
The statement outlined the current vaccination rates by age as follows:
- 49% of those aged 16 to 30 years of age have had at least one dose
- 63% of those aged 30 to 40 years of age have had at least one dose
- 73% of those aged 40 to 50 years of age have had at least one dose.
The exact numbers of those aged over 50 was not included, other than to say the “large majority” had received at least one dose.
Health and Wellness Minister Sabrina Turner said in the statement, “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.”
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan said the vaccine was “an essential part of the recovery process for the local economy but also the global economy on which we depend”.
Meanwhile, the health ministry reported that as of today there are 11 active cases of COVID in Cayman, all among travellers who are in quarantine.