(CMR) Governor Martyn Roper has renewed calls for persons to get the COVID-19 vaccine in light of the highly infectious Delta variant being identified in returning travelers.
Governor Roper said he knows the community will be concerned that Delta variant is identified, but said he had confidence “in our public health teams who have kept us safe in managing the risks from returning travelers and I want to thank them all once more for their outstanding service to our community.”
“Delta cases on our shores are not a surprise given that this dangerous variant is the dominant one in the US and UK. Nonetheless, the arrival of Delta in Cayman makes it even more imperative that those who have not taken the vaccine in our community do so as soon as possible,” Roper stated.
He warned that it takes at least 5 weeks before immunity builds up effectively for those receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Governor Roper added:
“I therefore strongly support renewed calls from the Premier, Government Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Lee, and our medical professionals for more people in our community to come forward to take the vaccine.”
“The growing dominance of the Delta variant is a dangerous development as the world grapples with Covid. But it is increasingly clear that this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. I am sure all of us were touched by interviews coming out of the US with unvaccinated COVID patients saying they wished they had had the vaccine and urging others to take it,” he continued.
Roper said vaccines work and are highly effective in protecting against the virus. He pointed out that 99% of those who have died in the last 6 months were unvaccinated in the US, according to the Director of CDC.
The Governor also pointed out that the vaccine has also been effective in the UK.
Today, in the UK, 1 in 1000 infections results in death, while last winter, that figure was 1 in 60. Roper believes the difference now is the vaccine, as almost 70% of UK adults have been vaccinated. In the UK, data shows that vaccines reduce your chance of severe illness and death by 92-96%, he said.
“If you havn’t had the vaccine yet, the emergence of Delta variant should give pause for reflection. Opening the border will never be risk free. Getting as many jabs in arms is our best hope of protecting everyone in our community, including our elderly and vulnerable and our young people, who even if they get Covid mildly, can suffer from highly debilitating long covid,” Roper said.
He noted that the UK’s commitment to providing Cayman with vaccines, and a booster this autumn if needed, remains firm.
“Let’s please use this precious resource. I urge all those who have not stepped forward to do so,” he added.