(CMR) With over 25,000 Caymanians receiving at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the number of persons to receive the COVID-19 jab could soon increase significantly as the vaccine is now available to all persons over the age of 16.
The Public Health Department has announced that the vaccine is available to the entire population as of Friday, March 5.
This latest rollout of the vaccines to the entire population comes as the country expects almost 20,000 more Pfizer vaccine doses from the UK next week.
Governor Martyn Roper has confirmed that the UK will be sending a further 19,890 doses on the British Airways flight arriving on 11 March. Plans are also in place for another consignment to arrive from the UK towards the end of the month.
“Based on our current vaccine supply and the doses arriving in March, the Cayman Islands is now able to make this vaccine available to everyone over 16 years of age. Supply of vaccines remains a challenge globally, but the UK’s continued support has enabled us to further open our vaccination programme. I encourage those that have not yet received their first vaccine to come forward to ensure we continue the work to keep Cayman safe,” the Governor said.
Persons will be vaccinated in alphabetical order, starting with Surname A.
The COVID-19 vaccination program will also continue to administer Dose 2 vaccinations in conjunction with the latest rollout.
Dr. John Lee, Chief Medical Officer, confirmed that Public Health had administered 25,408 vaccines and, of that, 16,603 (25.5% of the estimated population) have received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while 8,805 have completed the two-dose course.
“The Cayman Islands has been in an incredibly fortunate position to have been able to vaccinate its population so early on in the global campaign against Covid-19 disease,” Dr. Lee said.
Meantime, persons over 60 years old are being urged to get vaccinated.
Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, Medical Officer of Health, said, “Statistics show the older you are, the more likely you are to have complications if you contract COVID-19. Therefore, it is even more important that persons in this age group get fully vaccination to protect themselves and those around them.”
Dr. Williams-Rodriguez confirmed that common side effects from getting the vaccine include redness or soreness at the injection site, muscle aches, fever, headache, chills, and tiredness.
“Side effects from the vaccine are proving to be minor compared to the symptoms you could have if you are sick with COVID-19. The benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risk of contracting the virus,” he added.
Dr. Williams-Rodriguez urged persons to visit at various times to avoid long queues.
Individuals receiving their second dose are reminded that the date noted on the vaccination card for the second dose is the earliest date to receive the vaccine. They can get it at the airport even if they got it at a District Health Centre before.
Persons who are home-bound and unable to attend one of the vaccination clinics should contact the Flu Hotline 1-800-534-8600 or 925-6327 or a local HSA District Health Centre, and arrangements will be made for the vaccine to be administered at their homes.
Vaccination campaign changes and highlights:
- COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all ordinary and legal residents over the age of 16 (Stage 3) starting tomorrow, Friday 5th March (starting with Surname A). Please see the schedule for assigned Surname day.
- Vaccination Clinic Hours at ORIA – Monday – Friday 9am-12pm & 1:30-4pm; Saturday 9am-12pm & 1:30-3pm.
- For Dose 1, please fill out the consent form before arrival https://www.hsa.ky/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/COVID-19-Vaccine-Consent-Form-2020-2021-FINAL-Feb.pdf
- Everyone must present photo identification to receive the vaccine and demonstrate they are ordinarily and legally resident, e.g., with initial permission to remain in the Islands for at least six months.
- Persons may come at ANY of the published clinic times for the following:
- Stage 1, Group A, B & C
- Stage 2, Group A, B & C
- Receiving Dose 2
- Persons who have received their first dose are reminded to get their second dose 21 days later or no longer than 12 weeks after the first dose.
- When receiving your 2nd dose, you MUST also bring along your vaccination card reflecting your 1st dose.
- Doctors’ notes and employer letters are no longer required for Stage 2.
- Vaccination cards are NOT to be laminated.
- Persons 60 years and older will be given priority.
- Facemasks are required.