UK vaccine is a global game changer

| 30/12/2020 | 47 Comments

(CNS): The approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK this week will make a significant impact on the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus as it is the most accessible shot approved so far and is likely to remain that way. Given the global demand for vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 for all countries to emerge from the pandemic, this vaccine will likely be the most widely distributed as it is easier to store and cheaper than any of the others already approved or in the making.

While Cayman is expected to get its first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will not be far behind and Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said the greater the availability of vaccines, the quicker our most vulnerable will be protected and allow the country move onto a surer footing in reopening the borders.

“It is amazing news that yet another vaccine has been approved for our fight against SARS-CoV-2, with the announcement from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “As a really important part of the fight against COVID-19 disease, this vaccine, which was developed by both Oxford University and the drug company AstraZeneca, will be provided at cost to developing nations in perpetuity. This condition was insisted upon by Oxford University.”

Costing about US$3-4 per dose, it is more affordable than the PfizerBioNTech and Moderna messenger RNA (or mRNA) vaccines, which cost around ten times that. Dr Lee noted that this would provide “better access to all people of the world, and therefore a better chance of us keeping the threat of COVID-19 at bay”.

This new vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, which works in a different way than the mRNA vaccines that have already been approved. A viral vector vaccine uses another non-replicating virus to deliver SARS-CoV-2 genes, in the form of DNA, into human cells, where viral proteins are produced to induce protective immune responses. (See ‘How the Oxford vaccine works‘ on the BBC.)

The AstraZeneca vaccine is stored at normal fridge temperatures (2-8°C), which means it will be much easier to store and transport to the more remote parts of the world. 

Dr Lee added, “All of us are also watching carefully the development of new strains of this coronavirus, especially those that are more infectious.  Cayman Islands protocols are very stringent in both our length of quarantine and the monitoring systems we employ for those in quarantine. 

“Cayman does not currently have gene sequencing technology although we are looking into this which will have widespread applications not only in monitoring infectious disease outbreaks (including Covid-19, dengue and Zika), but also in the field of cancer management.”

Rumours circulating over the last few days that three travellers had brought the more easily transmissible strain with them were clearly false, since this would not be known as Cayman does not have the technology to detect the new strains.

Scientists are still unsure whether any of the new vaccines, which were all developed very quickly, prevent people who are given them from transmitting the virus to others or if they only protect those vaccinated from the disease. However, there are ongoing studies to determine this, which would clearly make a huge difference in their effectiveness in curbing the spread of the virus.

Over the last day another four travellers tested positive for unknown strains of the virus and all of them remain in isolation, along with several others who are currently infected with COVID-19. At the moment there are 34 active cases of the virus and six people are suffering symptoms but no one has needed to be admitted to hospital.

Cayman has now recorded 330 positive cases of the virus since March and has carried out almost 60,000 tests.

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Comments (47)

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  1. Overpriced Equipment Aid says:

    The only game changer is this variant strain of this Covid 19 virus from the UK and it’s ability to mutate further and it will be a game changer for Cayman it these vaccine deniers fail to get immunized before Alden the wise and Mr Daggaro open this place up in March.I am wondering will this BA flight coming next week will be bringing passengers or this Vaccine whilst the rest of the world is blocking flights we must be immune by colonial spirits I guess

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden loves England thinks they will ‘save’ Cayman. First it was the Canadians in the 1950s and 1960s, The mighty US with its vast economy and now potentially the UK since 2010. Oh boy, let’s hope he is right cause the UK looks like it need saving itself. Maybe that’s the plan attracting those fleeing all the pain.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Agree, except the mutated strain isn’t necessarily “from” the UK — they were just the first with the technology to be able to identify it. Other countries will likely defer on testing for the new strain, hoping against hope that the current “vaccines” will work for it also.

      It has been identified in Florida and Jamaica, among other places. It is likely to be FAR more transmissible and quite possibly more deadly to younger people than CV-19.

      The world has changed. New Zealand and The Cayman Islands have –at least for the present — vanquished the virus. Had every country closed down and wiped it out, we’d all be in a better place.

      You notice that we don’t have any flu season this year? That’s the proof in the pudding. We’re doing it right. I hope we continue to do so. I hope against hope that the “vaccine” works for us.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CNS, please at your next available opportunity ask our MoH or Premier if there will be any oversight of (or even behind closed doors directive to) the private health insurance companies that we are legally required to kneel to, when or if they start to “promote” taking the vaccine (per MoT) by way of threatening hugely increased premiums. Thanks

    • Anonymous says:

      Vaccine is free, unless anthing different has been announced.

      • Say it like it is says:

        Do we have a data base for prioritising the first batch of vaccines?.

      • Anonymous says:

        Read again. It was not about the vaccine cost. I actually dont even know how thats what you got out of that post. Its about how much health premiums may cost for those who dont want the vaccination…. you get it now?

        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          Yes. We get it. On one hand, we weigh the risk of taking a so-called “vaccine”, which involves a process that has never been done before; on the other, the risk of not being part of the herd.

          Our insurance services will probably latch onto that and raise rates for those who haven’t chosen to take the vax. That’s what they do — search for reasons to raise rates.

          Insurance. Betting against yourself and hoping you lose. What a racket.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do our politicians understand that if the new strain of Covid gets loose in Cayman that a lot of people will get sick and schools and businesses will need to be shut down again? What are they playing at? why are they not taking this new strain seriously?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am hopeful that over the next 6 months those of us that want it will be able to get the vaccine. What concerns me is what could happen during that time given the new strain that is in the UK and now the US. At the moment we are not testing people before they get on flights to Cayman so it could arrive here any time. Someone should tell our politicians that Christmas is over and it is time for them to ensure that testing before travel to Cayman is in force!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, hopefully everyone that WANTS it will be able to get it…..starting with frontline workers and the elderly and working on down to less vulnerable categories.

      Alden and Co seem to have all our eggs in one basket (the vaccine) regarding ever being able to open up. Hopefully, once our vulnerable are protected, we will see some progress. If residents are protected AND travelers pre-test immediately before travel, the risks are drastically reduced.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pretesting before a flight is not required as part of the current protocol since visitors are tested and immediately quarantined on arrival. Pretesting is used by countries that don’t quarantine visitors on arrival.
      Even if a traveller arrived here with a negative pretest, they may have been in the incubation period when tested, hence the negative result. They would eventually test positive once the disease takes hold. This is why a pretest is meaningless and the testing on arrival coupled with quarantine is superior for reducing spread. It shouldn’t make a difference which strain of the virus enters our borders because the protocol effectively mitigates spread of the disease.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your statement is false. Pretesting keeps most infected people from infecting other travelers and airport staff. Countries like Canada have recognised the threat posed by the new strains and therefore now require both pretesting and 14 days of quarantine.

      • Anonymous says:

        Pre-testing is not meaningless. Is it not better to keep people that are already positive from even boarding the plane? The majority of the positives are on arrival screening. It would make way more sense that those persons had never set foot in Cayman.

        Of course you can test negative on pre-test and positive a few days later. Same applies to testing negative on arrival. Nonetheless, pre-testing would catch the vast majority of cases before boarding the flight.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. Why put all passengers at risk when you could weed out the positive ones before they get on the plane. And what about the flight crew and airport workers, the taxi drivers, and quarantine staff. Pre-testing would provide a little more protection for them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Does simple hubris explain the failure to require testing prior to people flying to Cayman until such time as our population is vaccinated? An outbreak now would undo the benefits of the sacrifices we have made to this point. Not sure what other explanation there could be for the failure to require testing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess we will see how much the government really cares when they decide whether or not to cancel the next incoming BA flight in Jan.

    • Anonymous says:

      So that would be the flight carrying the first delivery of vaccine supplies then? Yes, cancelling that sounds like a brilliant idea. Or not.

      • Anonymous says:

        the worst vaccine to be given. it figures the uk back.peddled. that vaccine is being given to.poor countries

        • Anonymous says:

          They flew masks in from china on a private lear jet, i’m sure they can figure out how to fly the vaccine here. Just don’t let the UK people in and spread it more.

        • Anonymous says:

          What on earth are you going on about?!

      • Anonymous says:

        Umm yeah such thing as a private jet for courier just like what BA is now

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    A quickly manufactured vaccine with insufficient research and no knowledge of long term effects, all to vaccinate against a virus which we know can mutate quickly as there is already another strain; another strain that the vaccine may not work against. This is a disaster in the making. No sane person would allow anyone to put this into their body. Don’t let fear and propaganda drive you to do something that is not safe. Think for yourself.

    CNS: Also, don’t let fear and propaganda cause you not to take it so you risk sickness and death. A disaster in the making? What about the disaster that we are in? Recommended reading: How has a Covid vaccine been developed so quickly?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you don’t want to read the article the crux is a) will b) funding c) using existing methods. Imagine if we could harness this again and direct the medical profession to all work on one killer each year!

    • Anonymous says:

      One of my friends in the UK is on the vaccination team at a large hospital in East Anglia. They’re currently giving the initial dose to the over-80s in that area and there’s not been one reported serious issue so far. That’s a better record than the annual flu shots, which in recent years have produced quite a few adverse reactions.

      At present they’re administering the Pfizer vaccine but they’re expecting the Oxford vaccine next week.

      Apparently the initial risk assessment limited vaccination to fully equipped medical facilities like hospitals but it’s now being rolled out to health centres and GP surgeries.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for sharing your friend’s experience with the vaccine.

        Several of my family members have already had the Pfizer vaccine as they are over 80 years old. Non have reported any issues and all will be getting their second dose in the new year.

        I have read the literature on the vaccine and I have no worries about taking it. As far as side effects are concerned, I consider that we probably expose ourselves to more harm on a daily basis through the following:

        1)Eating genetically modified mass produced fruit and vegetables.
        2) Eating meat from animals injected with growth hormones and antibiotics.
        3) Breathing air that is polluted with carcinogens.
        4) Eating fish contaminated with micro- particles of plastics and Mercury.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS if you’re going to cite ‘recommended reading’ try this –

      That story was seriously dumbed down in the UK but the bottom line was Pfizer refused to supply the vaccine without a guarantee of immunity.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:28 Pfizer ‘refused’ or was it their lawyers?

        They’re a litigation target that has been hit pretty hard in the past (and with good reason) so I can understand the caution.

    • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        5:29 Don’t suppose you’d like to explain –

        1. Which comment you’re responding to;
        2. What your grounds for dismissing it as ‘nonsense’ are?

        If you can’t handle that my suggestion is to shut the **** up and let the adults handle these debates!

    • Risky Business says:

      There is more to 8:33’s point than the link suggested addresses. Depends what vaccine we are talking about. The Oxford, Russian and Chinese vaccines all use well established methodologies and there is close to zero additional long term risks they would be associated with them. The Pfizer and Modern jabs set to be more effective against covid but use relatively untested technology which has no track record for long term effects. If you are not in a high risk category, it might be prudent to lean towards the traditional vaccines since there is less need to take on additional risk with the other options. If you are in the higher risk covid groups then the additional risk that might come with Pfizer or Moderna is probably worth it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Lee likes to exaggerate. At $3-$4/dose it’s about 5x cheaper than the $19.50/dose Pfizer vaccine, not 10x. A lot of policy is being developed on exaggerations.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “According to the new investigative reporting, the United Kingdom’s COVID response was riddled with cronyism and corruption. The Times analyzed roughly 1,200 government contracts, worth $22 billion in sum, that were dolled out for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other pandemic-related purchases during the immediate aftermath of the outbreak. At least $11 billion—nearly half—went to suspicious contractors.

    Roughly $5 billion went to companies with a clear connection to a politician. Nearly $6 billion went to companies with no prior experience in the goods they were contracted to produce, including jewelers, and fashion designers. And more than $5 billion was given to companies with controversial pasts including alleged tax evasion, allegations of human rights violations, and more.”

    Sorry, I will not be playing this game.

    • Anonymous says:

      so you believe in a conspiracy that involves thousands of people and thousand scientists????

      CNS: The NYT story isn’t promoting a conspiracy theory – it doesn’t negate the seriousness of the pandemic. It claims there has been widespread profiteering or carpetbagging within the Tory government. i.e. people taking advantage of a period of misery in order to make large amounts of money. It’s a good read. Keep a bucket handy.

    • Anonymous says:

      So could you direct me to the source of your investigative reporting?

      CNS: It’s in the New York Times. The Guardian calls it ‘Chumocracy‘.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, which game is it you won’t be playing? The vaccination “game” ? You don’t mention the vaccine in your post. I hope you won’t let some profiteers stop you from being vaccinated when it’s available. This vaccine – and many more, have been years in the making, not weeks or months. What happened was that everything else they were working on was dropped to concentrate solely on a vaccine for this virus. And I’m hoping they’re correct when they say that it will be efficacious against the various new strains.

      Profiteers and corruption are hardly a revelation.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why are we only getting 5000? Does Alden or Dr. Lee realize that there are 60K more of us here. How will the vaccine be distributed. I hope we don’t mess this up like Trump is doing in the USA.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s vague right? All we know is that a few are coming next week. No info about who gets it and when. Where’s the rollout plan?

      • Anonymous says:

        CNS, can you please find out whether we will have a choice as to which vaccine to receive? I would rather get a shot that is 90% effective (Pfizer) than one that is only 70% effective(Astra Zeneca). Let’s hope CIG doesn’t opt for Astra-Zeneca just because it’s cheaper.

        CNS: The one that is coming next week is the Pfizer vaccine. How the roll out will work hasn’t been explained yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is not enough of it yet, but production is being ramped up rapidly.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it time that wes top hearing things second hand and Dr. Lee and the Government speaks directly to the country..and by the way I am not talking about putting out a video. We should be able to have press conferences like we used to.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The vaccine has to potential to be a game changer but the game has not changed yet. We need to consider closing our borders to the new strain of the virus or at least test everybody before the fly here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is crazy that we are not requiring testing before flights to Cayman. It will be months before the vaccines have a significant effect of Covid risk in Cayman.

  15. Anonymous says:

    People who are arriving with the virus from the UK represent a significant probability of importation of the new strain of Sars-CoV-2 simply on the basis of the prevalence of that new strain in the UK. Given the absence of gene sequencing to provide certainty one way or the other, the rumours of the new more infectious strain arriving in Cayman may or not be accurate, but they cannot be said to be clearly false. Every person arriving who has not been tested pre-flight poses an avoidable risk.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Greater vaccine availability is good news but it is still important that the government ensures that we do not have an outbreak here before everyone that wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated. We ought to be testing everyone flying here before they get on planes. No idea why government is failing to take that obvious step in securing people’s safety.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree, let’s not ruin everything now when we are so near from so far. Ready and waiting for my jab!

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