All of Cayman’s current COVID-19 vaccine supply has been used up, and vaccination clinics will be closed until after the arrival of the next batch on 16 June.
People who were scheduled to have their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before then can get their second shots at dedicated clinics which will be open on 17, 18 and 19 June.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee, in a Twitter post on Saturday afternoon, congratulated the Public Health team, whom he said had now given all the COVID-19 vaccine shots in the planned programme.
“Vaccination sites on Grand Cayman are now closed until the next delivery which is anticipated the middle of this month,” he said.
Governor Martyn Roper had previously announced that the UK will deliver the next supply of vaccines on the 16 June British Airways flight.
A slowdown in the uptake of vaccines in April had led to concerns that the vaccines would expire before they were used up, and the new PACT government initiated a ramped-up campaign to encourage people to get inoculated. It launched the ‘Vaccination Challenge’ last month, which included a prize draw in which people receiving their first dose would have the chance to win a variety of prizes, such as plane tickets, staycations, gift vouchers, dinner packages and jewellery.
The Cayman Islands Tourism Association, in conjunction with the R3 Cayman Foundation charity, also launched a separate draw, in which people getting vaccinated had an opportunity to win a $10,000 cash prize, and a variety of other tourism-related prizes valued at a total of $15,000.
With the prize draws as an incentive, as well as a proposal that work-permit holders renewing their permits or getting new ones would be required to be vaccinated, thousands of people who had been putting off getting the vaccine were inoculated in recent weeks. As of Friday, 60% of Cayman’s estimated 65,000 population was fully vaccinated, and 45,766, or 70% of the population, had received at least one dose.
In anticipation of the vaccines running out, the Public Health Department issued a statement during the week advising that individuals awaiting their second dose “should not be concerned” as they will be given priority when the next batch arrives.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said, “There is also now evidence that a longer gap between the first and second dose produces a better immune response. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can be given within three and twelve weeks after the first dose. Please rest assured that anyone due for their second dose will have an opportunity to get it once the next batch of vaccines arrive mid-June.”