COVID-19 Update for Thursday, 7 January 2021
At the COVID-19 press conference today, Thursday, 7 January 2021, Cayman Islands’ leaders called upon members of the community to do their part in bringing the global COVID-19 pandemic under control, by taking the vaccine when it is their turn to do so.
The rallying call comes as the Medical Officer of Health outlines the procedure for eligible members of the community to begin receiving their vaccine at the Health Services Authority (HAS) from tomorrow, Friday, 8 January (see below for more details).
Meanwhile, The Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee, also reported 199 test results today, of which three were positive, asymptomatic travellers.
Earlier today, HE the Governor, the Hon. Premier, the Hon. Minister for Health, the Chief Medical Officer and other senior Doctors all received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Health Services Authority. They unanimously reported no ill effects and called upon those living in the Cayman Islands to follow suit.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:
- All members of the panel are doing well on this historic occasion; the vaccine is safe and we will lead from the front to encourage everyone to take it as the only way out of this pandemic.
- If we do our part, we should be in a position by the end of March to have vaccinated enough of the population to return to a greater degree of normalcy, travelling freely and allowing more people into our country.
- Thanks to the Governor, his staff and the UK for their efforts in providing the vaccine free of charge. The relationship between the two countries is paying dividends.
- A Public Health nurse from Cayman Brac is here today learning about the vaccine and will return to the Brac with the vaccines on Saturday.
- Our primary objective has always been to save the health and lives of our people and residents. We have been able to do this by starving the virus of new hosts, slowing and then starving transmission.
- We must come together to do the right thing by getting vaccinated. Our success so far has been because all of you have made sacrifices and followed the guidelines laid out by government.
- Doubters are creating unnecessary concern around the safety of the vaccine; I implore you not to let them win. We know it is safe and we know it is the right thing to do.
- Existing quarantine protocols cannot be kept up indefinitely and our borders cannot remain closed forever. This vaccine is the best hope to continue to protect life for Cayman.
- From 14 January, all travelers aged 10 and older arriving in the Cayman Islands will need to show evidence of a negative PCR test (from an accredited laboratory) taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure in order to board their flight.
- Cabinet approved this measure on Tuesday, 5 January, in light of the new highly transmissible strain of the virus.
- Airlines will be checking passengers’ documentation and will deny boarding to anyone without proof of a negative test. Customs and Border Control (CBC) will also require this document. More information about this will be provided shortly.
- His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:
- Cayman was the first Overseas Territory to receive supplies of the vaccine; I was pleased to receive mine this morning. It was very straightforward and I feel absolutely fine.
- Despite the challenging COVID-19 situation in the UK, they remain committed to supply us with the vaccine.
- OTs who can store the Pfizer vaccine at the necessary low temperatures will receive these vaccines; those that do not have the necessary facilities will receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Cayman may also receive these vaccines as part of the rollout.
- It is great news that the first 10,000 doses have arrived and everything is going well.
- The next batch should arrive on one of the next BA flights, but the date will be confirmed later.
- Take-up is vital because the vaccine is in short-supply. We need to see a strong take-up in our Islands.
- They will be provided to the community at no cost. It has cost the UK Government GBP 200,000 to supply this batch, excluding freight costs.
- In the UK, over 1.5 million people have already received the vaccine.
- The AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper and easier to transport, it is a tremendous success for British science and likely to be a vital part of the global rollout.
- The vaccines are approved for use in the UK and the OTs; they have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the UK’s independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
- Rapid approval of these vaccines allowed the agency to analyse the data as it received it. Vaccines are being rolled out to millions of people with no serious side effects or complications.
- Persons in Cayman will receive two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart. Most people will be protected against the virus having had both doses. Full immunity (95%) builds up about a week after the second dose.
- Having the vaccine benefits the whole community; if enough people are vaccinated, it is harder for the virus to spread to those people who are not able to receive it. I encourage you, like the Premier, to take the vaccine when you are offered it.
- I respect your concerns, but please look at trusted information to inform your view. The case for taking it is very strong, to protect yourself and others in the community, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.
- Do not be taken in by the farfetched conspiracy theories; social media is full of misinformation.
- Vaccination has a long and successful track record. They prevent 3 million deaths worldwide per year.
- Returning travelers remain our greatest risk; those returning must follow all guidelines about isolation and quarantine. We have managed this extremely well so far thanks to the Travel Cayman team.
- Congratulations to Ms Carolyn Powell, our sign language interpreter, who receives her certificate and badge of honour.
Health Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour said:
- This morning, I along with the Premier, Governor, the Chief Medical Officer and others took the COVID vaccination.
- I look forward to the full rollout of our national vaccination programme to the communities across all three Islands. I feel blessed to begin 2021 with such good news for all the people in our Islands.
- Thanks British Airways, the Governor, his Office, along with the airport and HSA staff for ensuring the arrival of the vaccines and safe transportation to the HSA storage freezers. The HSA staff this morning should be commended for their professionalism.
- As of yesterday, the worldwide count had reached a staggering 86.8 million cases and a heartbreaking 1.9 million deaths around the world.
- We have to keep doing our part here at home to fight this deadly disease. I am proud we have joined this life-saving campaign with the Island’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines being administered.
- According to Bloomberg as of the sixth of January, almost 16 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in at least 37 countries have already been administered
- Having taken my first dose this morning. I can attest to the safety of the vaccine and confirm that I am feeling fine and I ask everyone in our community to come forward when it is opened to your category.
- Although the vaccine is not a cure all, it is a light at the end of what has been a very long, dark tunnel for so many people.
- Remember to check gov.ky/coronavirus for guidance. On the site you will also find our FAQs on the vaccine with lots of helpful information you can discuss with your loved ones and families in your decision making.
- There is also a video with Dr Lee on the page and on our CIGTV channel dispelling many of the concerning myths around the new vaccine.
- Lastly, we should all – if we are able – get vaccinated and do our part in our fight to help rebuild our economy, to open our borders, to travel freely once again, and of course to spend time without worry with the elderly and vulnerable in our lives.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee reported:
- Out of 199 test results today, three are positive, who are travellers and asymptomatic.
- The total number of positives in Cayman is now 359, of those: 310 have recovered, 11 are symptomatic and 36 are asymptomatic.
- A total of 167 people are in government facilities and 934 under the home quarantine programme.
- The National Vaccination Plan is available on the gov.ky/coronavirus website. The first stage consists of three groups:
- Group A: residents and staff of institutional facilities, individuals aged 70 and over, healthcare workers and first responders and frontline staff dealing with incoming travellers.
- Group B: for adults 60 and over or with the relevant health status.
- Group C: for workers essential to government continuity.
- The subgrouping allows us to prioritise delivery of the first tranche of vaccines. We know age is a strong predictor of poor outcome from COVID.
- In stage two, the vaccine will be administered to: anyone aged 16 – 60 with relevant medical status, those living at home with persons from stage one and essential workers, teachers and school staff.
- In stage three, we open it up to anyone eligible who has not already received the vaccine, i.e. persons aged 16 and above, beginning with those over 50.
- I had the vaccine this morning and I have no ill effects. The vaccine is a wonderful gift to the world and I encourage you to all to take it.
- If you have been vaccinated, the vaccination itself will not cause you to get COVID and you will not be infectious.
The Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said:
- From tomorrow (Friday, 8 January) at 10.30 a.m., the vaccine will be given at the Flu Clinic to the first priority group: over 70s and healthcare providers from both the public and private sector.
- From next week, from Monday to Friday at each of the district health centres, the vaccine will be available as well as at the Flu Clinic to all those in Group A of the first phase (see above).
- For Cayman Brac, as the Premier has mentioned, the Public Health nurse currently here will travel back to the Brac on Saturday (9 January) and will begin administering the vaccine then. On Wednesday, 13 January, it will be given to Little Cayman.
- Residential homes and other institutions have already been contacted and the vaccination schedule sent to them.
- Public Health nurses will also visit Health City and Doctors Hospital to vaccinate staff and clients as necessary. Some larger, private healthcare facilities will also be visited but they are welcome to visit the HSA to receive their vaccine.
- In order to stop overcrowding, individuals with surnames beginning with A-D are invited to attend tomorrow form 10.30 – 11.30 a.m.; E-G from 11.30 – 12.30 p.m.; H-M from 1.30 – 2.30 p.m. and N-Z from 2.30 – 4 p.m.
- The vaccine is only available for walk-ins.
- Go to https://hsa.ky/news_events/public-health-launches-covid-19-vaccination-campaign/ for more information.