(CMR) The Cayman Islands Government has launched a new vaccination drive to increase uptake of over 14,000 doses of vaccine, which will expire by the end of next month.
The PACT hosted their first press conference this afternoon to address concerns over the lack of uptake of the vaccines, which could affect future donations from the UK.
Persons will need to have their first dose by June 9 for the vaccines to be used up in time.
Premier David Panton encouraged residents to get their shot, adding that it was important to reopen the borders.
“We will remain on the conservative side, and any changes depend on our people who have decided to not yet be vaccinated,” the premier stated.
Panton added that the Cayman Islands could not afford to waste this resource when other counties are struggling to get access to the vaccine.
Members of the PACT who are not yet vaccinated will lead from the front this Saturday by getting vaccinated at the Owen Roberts International Airport. Other members of the public who are not yet vaccinated are asked to join.
“Now is the time to come and act in the best interest of our country… approximately 1.2 billion in the world people have decided they should be part of the solution for the world. We want those of you who have not yet had it to make that same decision for our country,” Panton added.
Meantime, Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan announced that persons who get their first dose of the vaccine from May 8 to June 8 will be eligible to win a number of prizes. The incentives will include airline tickets and staycation packages.
Governor Martyn Roper also urged persons to get vaccinated, stating it would be difficult to request more vaccines if all that has been donated was not used up.
“The UK has sent us six deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine, at no cost to Cayman; enough to vaccinate two-thirds of our total population which is 82% of over 16s who are currently eligible,” he stated.
Governor Roper added, “I can imagine there would be significant outrage and even distress if it became known that we had not used such a scarce resource when others are dying without it.”
He said the country had done well in its vaccination program, but the take-up stalled in April.
Panton said the target vaccination rate of 80% might be difficult to achieve and that his Government was looking at achieving 70% vaccination before considering reopening the country's borders. However, there was still some way to go to achieve this.