Officials fear low vaccine take-up

| 06/01/2021 | 172 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Cayman’s governor, premier, health minister and top doctor will be the first people to get the COVID-19 vaccine ,not because they are vulnerable to the coronavirus but because of fears that ‘anti-vaxxer’ sentiment may have gripped the country. Governor Martyn Roper said Tuesday that the take-up level of the vaccine will determine when Cayman gets its next batch, and Premier Alden McLaughlin said he believes it is the only solution to a safe re-opening of borders.

Both men fear that Cayman may be slow to take up the free inoculation against the COVID-19 pandemic and they hope that by getting the injection first at a public event, to be streamed live on TV and the internet on Thursday, the majority of residents might be more will be willing to take it too.

Speaking at Owen Roberts Airport as the vaccines arrived on Tuesday, McLaughlin said he believed the vaccine was safe.

“I am confident that the vaccine is absolutely safe,” McLaughlin said, noting that this was why he had agreed to be among the first to take it. “Almost two million people have died as a result of COVID, so if we don’t immunize ourselves, eventually Cayman is going to lose this bubble… A vaccine is the way out.”

He said he hoped that by the end of March enough residents here will have had the vaccine, which will allow the country to return to something close to normalcy so residents can travel and visitors can return.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said there was a lot of “negativity going around, a lot of messages going around with reasons not to take the vaccine”, but he said people should take it. Seymour said that he was skeptical at first but now he believed it was safe.

The vaccine is being distributed for free, and despite fears of a slow uptake, it will being administered on a voluntary basis for everyone. Government has also confirmed that even healthcare workers will not be forced to take the shot

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee, who will also be vaccinated in the live-streamed event Thursday, said that people should not worry because, despite what appears to be a rapid process, the research was solid.

“I understand the concerns of many in the community regarding the swift pace of the development of the COVID-19 vaccine but I want to reassure everyone this process has been as stringent as possible,” he said. “The challenge of the pandemic has sped up the development process, as did prompt worldwide funding. The duration of the trials has not been shortened in anyway, and normal safety measures have remained in place.”

Dr Lee has produced a video on the myths around the COVID-19 vaccine, in which he points out that the money invested by world governments in the work to find this vaccine has helped make the process far quicker than normal. Many of those working on the vaccine also drew on existing work.

Since Dr Lee produced the video, the vaccine has been administered to millions of people around the world. By 5 January, according to various reports, around 5.6 million doses in 37 countries have been given out. So far there have been only a tiny number of documented serious ill-effects as a result of the shots, largely due to allergic reactions.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is believed to be around 95% effective, but around 70% of the adult population will still need to be vaccinated in order to reach the point of ‘herd immunity’. This is where the virus stops spreading because of the difficulty it has in finding victims to infect who can pass it on to a new host.

Therefore, having buy-in from the community as quickly as possible is the only solution to controlling the pandemic.

However, despite the significant evidence and historical success of vaccine programmes, from small pox to polio, an utterly discredited claim the late 1990s by Andrew Wakefield that the MMR vaccine was responsible for autism added significant fuel to the anti-vaxxer movement.

More information about the vaccine is available on the government website here.

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Comments (172)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Put together a waitlist of people willing to take it but not in one of the early groups. If I get a call to tell me there is an opening, I will be down at the hospital in 10!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can the media please do running reports on how many people have been vaccinated, and how many if any doses have had to be destroyed through lack of uptake.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am sure most over 70’s are loving not having tourists and are not being vaccinated to keep the peaceful status quo

    • Anonymous says:

      Ignorance makes you sure you know what everyone else feels like doing when all you really know is what you will do. The only “vaccine ” against this is education.(Called edumacation in Cayman Islands.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great news from today’s press conference. People arriving by air will be required to have a negative Covid test before getting on the planes to Cayman. That will significantly reduce to our front line workers. Another good decision by our government.

    • Anonymous says:

      When will they tell the people that are going to be arriving by air so they have time to find out if they can actually get on the plane? Rhetorical question as we know the answer. Caymankind.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sign me up. Where and when ?

  6. Anonymous says:

    How do we know they are injecting the real vaccine?

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      my thoughts exactly. Then they have their video and their cute little I got vaccinated sign. Forget that propaganda. We are smarter than that. They just want Caymanians to be guinea pigs again.

      • Anonymous says:

        3:02: millions already vaccinated globally. How could that make us Jonny-come-lately guinea pigs?

        Use your logic and watch the news.

    • Anonymous says:

      White rum is my guess

    • Anonymous says:

      They won’t make you take it so if you don’t want it for what ever reason then don’t.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There is reasonable trepidation. I am not anti vaxx but I also want to see longer term side effects. There won’t be a lot of data to make an informed decision so please understand the concern. You can put as many of Cayman’s socialites up taking the vaxx as you like we just want to make informed decisions and this vaxx was rolled out so quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:01 pm: some info that might be helpful:

      Folks just short of 44,000 persons participated in the Pfizer trials. (See report by respected New England Journal of Medicine,

      In the vaccine group, 8 persons contracted the virus within 7 days after the second dose. This contrasted with 162 in the placebo group.

      This is an efficacy rate of 95%.

      This more or less means that for every 100 persons who are vaccinated 95 will be immunized. Those are pretty good odds, against the chances of contracting the virus without the vaccine.

      Research history:
      The Pfizer vaccine speedy production was made possible because of years of prior research:

      “The world was able to develop COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because of years of previous research on related viruses and faster ways to manufacture vaccines, enormous funding that allowed firms to run multiple trials in parallel, and regulators moving more quickly than normal.

      “Some of those factors might translate to other vaccine efforts, particularly speedier manufacturing platforms.”

      Read more of this article about this vaccine development in Nature journal that is described as

      “…a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology….”


      Number of deaths worldwide:
      Just short of 2 million persons have died worldwide.

      In the US hospitals are stressed to the breaking point.

      Sadly, they have not been able to save lives of what will soon be 400,000 persons in the US.

      We are very fortunate here in Cayman. Bermuda, same population size, is now experiencing its a second wave, twice number of cases as Cayman, 11 deaths, and no sign that community spread is abating.

      We should not be complacent.

      I will be lining up for my vaccine as soon as my turn comes.

      • Anonymous says:

        Those are pretty good odds, against the chances of contracting the virus without the vaccine.
        Did you mean to say pretty good odds of contracting the virus without the vaccine.

        • Anonymous says:

          6:46: no, did not mean what you inferred.

          What I mean was that 95% efficacy represents very good odds for avoiding the virus, in comparison to the odds of contracting the virus if you don’t take the virus.

          Read in context.

          There is no fail safe vaccine. For example, you can still contract the flu virus even if you do get the flu shot.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good post. Sadly the anti vax muppets have already made up their little minds based on drivel they read on Facebook.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good post!
        What most people don’t seen to get is that this is a WAR on covid. The faster we all get the vaccine the faster we’re will starve it of hosts.
        I have to travel for work and need to get it asap but I’m not in the first groups and will sadly have to travel without it.
        C’mon people, line up for it and let’s get this going as fast as possible!

      • Anonymous says:

        You ever read the book ‘How to lie with statistics’ by Darrell Huff? Its all about selective use of information to push a narrative.

        Unfortunately, Im in construction. And the first thing we learn in SAFETY is that just because something didnt go wrong the first 853 times doesnt mean we will be okay on the 854th time. BASIC RULE.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:01 Stay on the fence, the right vaccine will call you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    this is lame cig excuse for not being able to achieve their previously announced 3,000 vaccinations per week target.
    btw…even with 100% willing ness from the public…cig was never going to achieve that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same problem in the rest of the world my friend. At least this Govt is more likely to be in a position to immunize everyone. Whether we take it up or not is a different matter.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What is the government doing to officially certify that the vaccine was received. I don’t want to take the vaccine and due to a lack of proper certification it is not recognised internationally.

  10. Anonymous says:

    8:20 If you read my comment properly I call anti-vaxxers selfish because they put people who can’t take the vaccine (because of health issues) at risk. I am fully aware that some people can’t take it. But those who can should.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not selfish, they are just ignorant of the facts. Or just ignorant period. Lack of a proper education due to mistrust and cultural acceptance toward ignorance is the culprit. Blame God.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Take up is certainly going to be low if the govt does not clearly and comprehensively state:
    1) Who is eligible; and
    2) How to get vaccinated.

    FFS, when are they going to publish this information? Just publish the damn list re eligibility and provide clear instructions.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s the usual Cayman thing. You get the vaccine if you call them and explain why you need it and who you are, then you call your wife while you’re there and they sneak her in too. The plebs will have to wait until everyone with connections gets through.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:21 Where are you living!

  12. Anon says:

    If there is a slow take up the obvious solution is to offer the vaccine to the next group. I am in Tier 3 but want my vaccine as soon as possible!

  13. Anonymous says:

    In order to reopen the boarders in the foreseeable future the government needs to make the vaccination mandatory in certain sectors. Firstly they should make it part of the work permit/permanent residency/status application process that anyone wanting to work/reside in Cayman must have a covid vaccination. They could also make it a mandatory requirement for all civil servants to have a vaccination as part of their employment contract. Right there between civil servants, expats and people willing to take the vaccine you’ve created herd immunity with over 70% of the population been vaccinated. As for the Caymanians that choose not to be vaccinated they will soon change their minds when they are unable to travel. Problem solved.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The brochure linked has an important line on repeated follow-up PCR testing of travelers to be released into the community…read the last sentence:

    “Travelers who complete a course of the vaccine and test negative on arrival will be exempt from quarantine. This is provided other residents of their household have been vaccinated. These persons must also undergo repeated testing on days 0, 5, 10, 15 after arrival.”

    What does this say about HSA’s confidence in the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines? The brochure also suggests that there could be later mixing and matching of different vaccine types, not currently approved, even as an EUA, for such use, even while current CDC guidance expressly advises against that:

  15. Anon says:

    Commentators on here calling for us to open up once we’ve had a jab – you do realise after the first dose of both Pfizer or Oxford it takes 3 weeks to have immunity, and then you need another jab (second dose) within 12 weeks to get the full long term protection? It’s also clearly safe so you would be mad to refuse the vaccine when offered it – unless potentially you are pregnant or planning to conceive as there are not available trials on the impact on pregnancy, but even then the risk is likely extremely low.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think people on here questioning the Cayman vaccine rollout and asking if they can choose Pfizer over Oxford need to understand how lucky we are as a British Overseas territory to be getting these vaccines so quickly from the UK. Look at the UK for example – full lockdown until March as they try to roll out vaccinating 60 million people to beat the spread of the new variant and even stronger South African variant. It’s likely the under 50’s and healthy in Cayman will get a first jab in March potentially ahead of European countries where the virus is rife. Be grateful to get a vaccine so quickly in the next few months – Germany manufacture the Pfizer vaccine for example but due to poor EU procurement, they have hardly any supply whilst countries like Israel and the UK have secured the early orders. Hopefully once we have all had the option of a vaccine, Cayman can start to open up and allow vaccinated people to freely travel eventually to/from Cayman. We should celebrate the remarkable work of the Oxford scientists and UK logistics operation in creating the Oxford jabs too – a 5th of the price of the Pfizer/Moderna jabs and can be stored in a normal fridge. This will become the workhorse of the world’s vaccination drive to finally let us come out of this pandemic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Extremely lucky. As you say, here in the UK we are now in lockdown again, with 75k deaths and counting, and vaccines now being rationed to the first dose only to try and get through as many people as possible. Word hasn’t generally got out yet that UK tax payers are funding vaccines for people in tax havens with a minuscule infection rate, but it’s not going to go down well.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman has a ‘miniscule’ infection rate because the leadership locked down the country last year and we had proper and effective curfews and community cooperation. While in the UK the people were travelling all across Europe in the summer, in the middle of the pandemic. Cayman residents put it in a lot of commitment to get to the level of zero community spread.
        There are International and National agreements and regulations between the UK and the Overseas Territories for funding types of things, so it likely falls into one of these budgets.

        • 345 says:

          That went over your head. Point is the UK economy regardless of citizen behavior can afford its own vaccine, the island can not and does not offer any value to the average UK voter. Add the xenophobia and global reputation and you might imagine why UK voters would resent helping and even go as far as making it a political point. You all better hope this Mckeeva thing don’t get too loud.

  17. Anonymous says:

    …..and just like that, dying of old age has become a cause of death again!

    “To be sure, due to the advanced age of the residents, it’s possible their deaths were unrelated to the vaccine.
    Around 400 people die every week in Norwegian nursing homes (on a tangential note, we can’t help but wonder how many deaths in these facilities have been mislabeled as “COVID-19 deaths”).

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