The pace of vaccinations in the Cayman Islands has slowed down considerably, since a new batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived on island on 16 June.

The vaccination effort was halted for about two weeks last month before first-time vaccinations recommenced on 17 June.

In the first three weeks since then, the weekly averages of people receiving their first jab have dropped to only 1,201, 231 and 449 respectively.

The typical weekly average before the break was more than 2,000 people and reached a peak of almost 5,000 in March.

Cayman’s reopening plan calls for a rate of 80% to enter phase 3, when a limited number of tourists will be allowed to visit. The planned start of phase 3 is 9 Sept.

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Phase 4, when securely verifiable vaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine, is set to start on 14 Oct.

Cayman’s one-dose vaccination rate has hovered below the 69%-mark for the past two weeks, while the share of fully vaccinated residents increased from 63% to 64.2%.

If the weekly average of the period since 17 June can be maintained, it would take another 13 weeks, until 8 Oct., to reach the threshold of 80% of the population for first-time vaccinations. But it would take at least another three to four weeks for everyone to get a second jab, to be fully inoculated against the virus.

This would also require that everyone who had a first dose will get their second vaccine shot. Currently, more than 1,600 people have not completed the full inoculation three weeks after their first appointment, delaying the process further.

It is also questionable whether the current average can be maintained given the continuous slowing of the vaccination pace.

If last week’s average was setting the pace for future inoculations, it would take almost 20 weeks, until December, to have 80% of the 71,100 residents fully vaccinated.

This means the phase 3 deadline will almost certainly be missed without a renewed vaccination drive, if the threshold can be reached at all.

The chart compares the vaccinate rates on 13 July to 29 June.

During the past two weeks, the share of first-time vaccinated increased the most among the youngest age group of 12-to-18 year olds, followed by the 30-to-40 year old cohort.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Premier Wayne Panton reiterated that government’s phased reopening plan is largely based on the vaccination numbers.

“We have a plan to reopen our borders but nothing we come up with will work safely unless everyone in the Cayman Islands who is capable of taking the Covid vaccine takes it,” he said.

“We must realise the goal of vaccinating 80% of our population and we will continue to use the population figure of 71,100.”

Panton said the vaccination rate is a topic he will continue to re-emphasize until the threshold is reached.

“I am begging everyone in this country who have not yet taken the vaccine – not from a position of weakness but from a position of concern for the health of the country – to help us reach our goal,” he said.

“We cannot remain closed to the outside world forever. We have to let people come back into our country.”

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  1. It is highly unlikely the mythical 80% goal will ever be reached so if the plan counts on that, you have no plan. If something is not mandatory, you figure at least 25% of people are going to be against it. When the bar was moved from 70% to 80% you pretty much killed the re-opening plan.

    I find it ironic that last month there were several articles about how wealth inequality is hurting Cayman yet no one ties that into closed borders which are squeezing the non-rich every day. The wealthy can keep the borders closed forever and not care. But for those not wealthy, a significant number rely on tourism and to lose all your income for 2 years is devastating.

    Worst of all, to create a re-opening plan based on arbitrary numbers and unlrealistic behavior expectations shows poor leadership.

  2. You don’t say? The knowledgeable readers here knew that these targets were unrealistic the second they were released – just look at previous comment sections in articles that had to do with the reopening.

  3. For any vaccine, approximately 10% of a population will not participate for medical or religious reasons, not including personal reasons. I would expect the weekly vaccination uptake rate to trend downward under diminishing returns. The CIG denominator is overstated making the 80% goal nearly impossible within the reopening timeframe.

    • Good morning and thanks for your query. The Cayman Compass values and encourages feedback from its audience and continually provides platforms for public discussion and discourse on the stories we publish every day. The like/dislike button was removed in an attempt to reduce the number of plug-ins on the site in order to enhance performance and the customer experience. Audience members, as always, have the opportunity to have their voice heard by leaving comments on the story post as well as on social media pages.

        • Exactly! They must think we are really not very smart that we dont realize how the media lately clearly goes out of their way to keep people from seeing how many may or may not agree with their position. I’ve been reading the compass for at least a couple years and never once complained about performance issues with the site. Ive never seen any other comments on articles about lack of performance on the site either. I guess they just got tired seeing the majority agreed with the comments that were actually in disagreement with an article or position then the stance they took. So let’s hide behind “performance” issues and act like they are doing us a favor. Makes me smile when media thinks people are that stupid.

    • I agree. It appears some people just don’t want to get themselves vaccinated.
      Wonder what would have happened to them in years gone by—-would they have contracted polio, tuberculosis, smallpox to name but a few of the diseases which were eradicated (for ever we hope) thanks to vaccination efforts?

  4. There are people that don’t want the vaccine and don’t want to reopen. The 80% requirement is pandering to them. Set a date and stick with it. People who don’t get vaccinated do so at their own risk.

  5. This is all window dressing from Mr Panton, we all know that the significant number of non vaxers in Cayman (many of them Caymanian) will never take the vaccine. Appeals will just fall on deaf ears. He must appreciate that by saying that “we must realise the goal of vaccinating 80% of our population” means his plan will never be implemented, certainly not within his time frame. What he needs to spell out now, is what happens on 9th Sept and thereafter when we have failed to reach 80%.

  6. The ‘most vulnerable’ the 50+ have been vaccinated at over 80% and presumably these people have now had the 2nd dose. So I dont see why we cannot go ahead and reopen . we cannot stay closed forever so many people have no income and tourism needs to be restarted asap.

  7. I don’t really know what the climate is like in Cayman politically, but I imagine that it is a pretty small club. Need a building permit? Small club. Need a liquor license? Small club.

    Building on that, I also imagine that more people aren’t squawking about this hilarious “opening” plan because if they do too loudly, there could be repercussions later. It’s easy for me sitting here in the US to call the “opening” plan dumb (it is) or mathematically challenged (it is) because I have no repercussions. It is much harder for a hotel or resort owner in Cayman, who needs to get stuff done later, to come out and say “this foolishness needs to end” or whatever needs to be said to actually get the island open.

    All I want to do is come down there like I have done ten times before and drop ten grand (or more) on a nice vacation and sit on the beach for a week. Instead I see this hilarious, non science based plan that will never work, and is obviously not intended to work because the Caymanian government wants to apparently destroy it’s tourism industry. On top of that my vaccination card isn’t accepted because of some apparent high level crime ring that is producing fake vaccination cards to take an expensive island vacation. Who knew?

    So, this brings us full circle to a question. Why does the Caymanian government hate their tourism industry? The answer to that question is the only explanation for this circus of an “opening” plan.

    • It’s not that they hate their tourism industry. It’s that they are following the World Economic Forum playbook for Klaus Schwab’s ‘The Great Reset.’ In the book, Klaus says we’ll never return to normal, despite “Covid” not being an existential threat, so that their “great reset” agenda can be fast tracked.

  8. I’m out. —Long term property owner since 1980. My daughter grew up on Cayman and always wanted a Cayman wedding. Not going to happen. ——After much planning I cannot trust this 6 phase reopening plan with my guests. You are missing a window to safely reopen during the off season. The more vaccines the better but there is nothing magical about 80 percent. It is foolish to wait for a number that will never happen. Even more foolish to open in December to chaos. ——So sad to have to cancel my favorite hotel, rooms, catering, entertainment, restaurant, dive and sail boat charters for my guests. We have opted for a Key West wedding in December. I would imagine many are currently in my position and need to make their decision. I am not giving up on Cayman but if I cannot get full use of my property soon, then I will have to question its value.

  9. Not only is the 80% vaccination rate going to be extremely difficult to achieve if not impossible to achieve there is the issue of what will be accepted as proof of being vaccinated. Biden has already made it clear that his administration will not support a national vaccine registry, it is left to individual US states. And let’s face it we have many tourists from the US. Many states will not, under any circumstances allow a vaccine passport (registry), so how will CIG verify vaccine status? Tourism can not and will not return for vaccinated individuals if they are required to quarantine. I would like to know how CIG plans to securely verify the vaccine status of arriving visitors. Panton said Dr. Lee was working on this? I can’t imagine the US government taking time to work with him on some system for verifying vaccine status.

  10. Agree with the comments here. 80 per cent is unachievable. Worse still, COVID is going nowhere. WE have to learn to live with it. We have to open up. Set a date. I say do as Macron has done in France. If you are not vaccinated or don’t have an up to date… PCR test (72 hours) you will be denied entry to restaurants, cinemas, airport, clubs sporting events…. etc. 2 million signed up for vaccinations in 48 hours. Your choice (because God forbid we take that away from people).

  11. Vaccination progress is easy to INCREASE NUMBERS OEVERNIGHT.
    Get all owners of Hotels, Restaurants, Taxi’s to warn employees:
    ” You must deliver proof of 1st vaccination by August 1st to keep your employment
    and 2nd by end September– IF not, we will employ only those, vaccinated thereby
    ensuring the safety of our customers. Same should apply for Police, Airport personnel, ALL medical professionals, Diving instructors, Petrol Station employees.
    By end September, we will have 80% plus over 15 year old vaccinated.

  12. I’m curious as to where in the Bible it states that it is wrong to receive medicine that could prevent death and protect the life of those surrounding us. I also find it mind boggling that persons in authority in our society, who we assume are well trained and educated, and keep our islands safe, are refusing to have the Covid 19 vaccination. If they have been following the recent events in the BVI they will know that all bar one of the 16 deaths in the last two weeks were from un- vaccinated people.
    Where is the infamous “Cayman Kind”? Don’t be selfish Cayman, protect yourself and those around you. As the slogan in the UK says “Grab a Jab”. Yes, you may suffer one of the many side effects, but as we have seen globally and most recently, regional, the probable side effect of Covid is death.
    The time has come for full disclosure of those individuals who are unwilling to be vaccinated. Why should our community be put at unnecessary risk by others they have trusted to keep them safe.
    Kerrie M