As government continues its push to vaccinate the islands’ residents, should Cayman consider implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations?

Premier Wayne Panton has previously said his government is not inclined to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for Caymanians and permanent residents.

The premier, speaking at the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon in July, announced that government would, however, require proof of vaccination for both renewal and new work permits as a part of the now-paused phased border reopening process.

This follows comments from Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, who in a Radio Cayman interview back in May, indicated that the government was considering making vaccinations compulsory for all expat workers who are renewing their work permits or getting new ones.

On 8 Sept., during a government press conference, while responding to requests for an update on mandatory vaccination regulations, Panton said the issue was more complicated than he had initially anticipated.

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As of 22 Sept., no such regulations have been finalised.

Speaking at a government press briefing earlier this month, Governor Martyn Roper said that for the country to safely move forward, “a part of the answer may have to be considering mandating vaccinations for those educating our children, and for those on the front line.”

“That may be a step too far for some here, but we simply cannot stand still as a jurisdiction and I believe these measures do need to be considered to ensure we can protect the community and make sure as many as possible get the protection offered by the vaccine.”

The Department of Labour and Pensions issued guidance notes on COVID-19 vaccines, saying a company requiring staff be vaccinated might be a reasonable measure, depending on the nature of the business.

“The Cayman Islands Government is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine voluntarily. While it is encouraged that the vaccine is taken, persons are allowed to decide whether they wish to be vaccinated,” the Department of Labour and Pensions said in guidance notes released in August.

The Christian Association for Civics and Political Education has warned that it will initiate legal proceedings against the government, if it passes any legislation that mandates COVID-19 vaccinations.

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