Premier eyes open border as vaccine tally inches up

| 25/02/2021 | 77 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin gets the COVID-19 vaccine

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has said he is excited about the possibility of opening the borders completely by the end of April if 70% of the adult population is vaccinated against COVID-19 by then. Once 90% of the over 60s have had both shots, likely by next week, government will reduce quarantine from 14 days to 10 days, but once 70% of adults have received both doses, they may make what some believe is the rash decision of removing it completely.

For almost one year McLaughlin and his government have steered a very cautious but successful course through the coronavirus health crisis, but in the aftermath of the election he could be abandoning that cautious approach.

The Cayman Islands community has been virus free for more than six months, with only one suspected case since last summer. No cases have leaked from quarantine, even after the home isolation programme began in October. Since then, there have been 220 cases of the virus recorded among travellers, who continue to arrive carrying COVID-19, despite the requirement for a negative test result less than three days old before boarding a plane.

While concerted efforts globally to contain the virus and the rollout of the vaccine are beginning to have an impact on the spread of the coronavirus, which was raging out of control at the start of the year, there are still around 23 million people actively infected around the world. Half of those are in the United States and the UK, where nearly all people arriving here are travelling from.

Despite public concerns that the vaccine is not a cure-all, if the premier’s coalition retains the levers of power, he will looking to re-open Cayman shortly after the elections. McLaughlin said this week that the goal is for the Cayman Islands to become, within a matter of weeks, one of the first countries to completely open up safely with no requirement for quarantine.

So far, 14,181 people here have had at least the first vaccine shot and more than 7,800 of those have received both doses.

Anyone with travel questions should contact the Travel Cayman team via email
or call 1-345-945-0556 / 1-345-946-7858
Phone lines are open Monday through Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

Breach Tips Hotline: 943-7233 (943 SAFE)

HSA Flu Hotline: 1-800-534-8600 or 925-6327 or

See the consent form and the Vaccination Plan Brochure in the CNS Library here.

For more details on the vaccination programme and the vaccination schedule, visit the HSA website here. And for testing to accommodate new international requirements, see here.

For more information on COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands, visit the CIG site here.

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Comments (77)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Curious: can we jot down the casualty figures Alden’s re-election campaign are using as acceptable numbers of dead under 16’s, pregnant, and vaccine-allergic, on this reopen Cayman into April third wave plan? Sounds like PPM are reverting back to cognitive bias policy making, only this time, radically changing our way of life, while killing our own citizens.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re an idiot

    • AnonymousLC says:

      To date, ZERO across the board. Wake up FPS. Two elderly with pre-existing conditions IIRC. One was Patient Zero from Italy, and the other returned from Jamaica. Do you honestly think it’s going to get worse once people are vaccinated?

  2. Sheriff says:

    Let’s face it, this isn’t going to happen. The reopening plan changes from moment to moment. It’s my opinion that he simply says what he thinks people want to hear in the moment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    All I am saying is that you should vote for the person who has made a commitment in line with your own views. Don’t cast a vote and then afterwards say “I never imagined that he/she would do such a thing as that”.

    You have the opportunity to ask politicians exactly where they stand on the issues most important to you, and then cast your vote accordingly. Sure, politicians will lie, but excepting certain areas of West Bay, such lies will eventually come back to bite your ass.

  4. David Bromfield says:

    HI there–does anyone know if you will NEED the Vaccine to be able to enter GC?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are not vaccinated, then you will have to do the 14 day quarantine.

    • Anonymous says:

      Official reopening plan hasn’t been announced. Originally, they said it would probably look like pre-test, test on arrival and no quarantine if fully vaccinated AND persons in the house you’re staying in are fully vaccinated. If not vaccinated, 14 days of quarantine.

      Since that announcement there’s already been talk of changes in plans. Once a certain % of residents are vaccinated, considering quarantine drop to 10 days.

      Anyway, it’s all still a moving target and who knows what ACTUAL law will be. Don’t make any travel plans until they put official word out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Best advice yet. If you don’t have to travel, don’t. We miss you too, but the times are quirky now. Just chill until things are much more consistent.

  5. Anonymous says:

    People who have lost their jobs, savings, marriages, houses, vehicles and businesses aren’t as impressed with the premier’s successful steering. But yeah, if you don’t get a vaccine that’s your choice. No more quarantine, open up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask any of the people who lost their job, savings, marriage, vehicle, or business, if they would be willing to trade places with one of the 2.5 million people who lost their lives to Covid-19?

      • Anonymous says:

        Considering the chances of death are less than 1% *if you get it* I’m sure most if not all would say they would take their chances.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are an idiot! I’ll bet that you support the party of Trump as well.

          • Anonymous says:

            And I’ll bet you double mask alone in your car and think communism is terrific, just misunderstood.

      • Anonymous says:

        I like where marriage sits in that statement between Savings and House. Time to do away with that flimsy institution that really just boils down to immigration rights and property rights. A buddy pass( 1 per stable person during your lifetime) and a contract easy fix!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is any consideration being given to the people in Phase 3 that won’t be vaccinated by then even if they want to be? Especially considering that the vaccine protects those vaccinated but does not necessarily stop them from spreading it. I don’t really appreciate having to work alongside people who have taken trips to the UK or US and may be contagious.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Vaccines are not bulletproof shields against any diseases. Best case, vaxed still get infected, perhaps not as severely. Worst case, a completely different strain kills them. Those vaccinated are also falsely emboldened to forgo social-distancing and remove their masks, spreading disease (and new strains) faster than before. With UK and South African variants projected to be 40% of new cases in 2 weeks, the planet is on the cusp of a very deadly third wave crisis, right at the time when Alden plans to politically expedite opening up. Bad luck for everyone enjoying our exquisite freedoms, and potentially fatal policy for those under 16, pregnant, or allergic to eggs.

    • Anonymous says:

      It makes no sense that they’ve realized it’s unsafe for vaccinated visitors to stay in the same household as unvaccinated people but I could end up sharing a small office for eight hours a day with someone who has just travelled. I’m not worried about getting covid from some tourist but at my workplace from a coworker that has travelled.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If you stop simply accepting what you’re being told in your echo chambers and go and do some research, you’ll find among many other interesting pieces of information:

    they’ve proven that Covid 19 was in general spread august/september 2019. yep, 4/5 months before you were told it was just found in Wuhan.

    the PCR testing is nonsensical at the high speed counts they’ve genrerally been running them. most ‘cases’ are nothing of the sort, and certainly nothing that can create a pandemic.

    vaccines are still in trial. The fact they were developed so rapidly is concerning but only to a point, as technology and previous vaccines that are being platformed upon can justify their incredibly fast roll out. What CANNOT be understated is the stunning lack of research gone into side effects and long term issues. Why anyone is willingly putting these into their bodies (unless they are old/vulnerable/etc) is beyond my understanding. You will not know for years (and Big Pharma admit this) what the side effects may be.

    We are told a vaccine solves everything by and large. And yet, we still have to wear masks and socially distance, etc? It doesn’t make sense. Its a virus that affects a tiny % of population in a severe way, so once they’re vaccinated, why all the continued lockdowns, etc?

    Its not a global conspiracy, its more of a global leadership ineptitude and stunning willing to comply by the uneducated and scared pandemic.

    And oh yes, the flu has disappeared. Amazing. Just like that.

    Did you know excess deaths were on a higher level globally a few years ago. Remember that pandemic? No, of course you don’t because there was not one.

    and there is not one now. The real pandemic is to come, with the repurcussions of economic devastation, side effects of mass vaccination, missed medical checks resulting in cancer/diabetes/mental health issues. Suicide rates are skyrocketing.

    All because China showed the world what to do by locking down a city and we all complied. Remember the huge hospitals they built in Wuhan in 7 days? You do. But do you remember when they closed? 1 month later was the first one….they didnt report that.

    Stop this craziness. Vaccinate the vulnerable if they want. But open up and just wash your hands and be sensible. You;ll be fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      All true. It’s amazing how many people willingly and apparently gleefully accept anything the media and government tell them without doing any research or critical thinking. Time and time again the experts have been dead wrong on so many important aspects of this virus. Their attitude seems to be “oh well”. The draconian measures taken in states like California and NY are a perfect example of the government and “experts” failed and wrong theories. These states have done no better and in many cases worse than states with reasonable measures. The old saying is so true, those who will sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone’s a tough guy until they find themselves, or a loved one, face-down in a quarantine ward, clinging to life. It is a real-life horror show and there are thousands of ER doctors and nurses that can recount their PTSD experiences, and colleague suicide (since you went there). Apparently, Alden (and friends) want that here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually most of those stories are because (apart from the vulnerable which obviously is a sad situation but still they were vulnerable) the treatments of ventilation were wrong

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said

    • Anonymous says:

      Vaccinated and still have to wear a mask doesn’t make sense to you because it requires that you know the facts. Not what you watch on YouTube. Sweden had your attitude last year, ask them how that worked out and what they are doing now.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is the Cayman Islands missing the opportunity to become independent of tourism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ex Premier

  10. Anonymous says:

    In other words we will not reopen till further notice. But first we need to get the hotels to ramp up then shut them down again. That should teach them who’s boss here.

  11. Campaign weapon says:

    Yes end of April if he loses this election it wouldn’t matter but does he know something we don’t his puppet in George Town East will no doubt be taking instructions from his coalition conspirator and de facto boss Ropa Cayman please please I beg of you use your vote wisely as it appears your LiFE is bloody well going to depend on it .

  12. Anonymous says:

    Who cares or believes in anything this ‘man’ says anymore.

  13. Anonymous says:

    UK target is for all adults to be offered the vaccination by September – what makes you think Cayman is going to be any different? The Premier makes a different statement about once a month on average, depending on which voters he is trying to court!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Alden is an idiot if he does this without giving those that want to get it the opportunity.

    He will be gone in less than a month. It’s that Governor that worries me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden and the Guv are very chummy in social circles not just work.

      They wimped out not removing McKeeva and bringing the election forward.

      Let’s hope new blood will focus on people. Education, Enviroment instead of “planning Dept and favors for cronies”

      We need leadership, not greed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I guess the Premier is unaware that there is little evidence that the South African variant and the Brazilian variant are controlled by the Pfizer vaccine. Either that or he does not care.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually both vaccines are 100% effective against both South Africa and Brazil variants in preventing HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATHS. But as you say about 52% effective in preventing felling sick. You have to read the details of the data. It is your island and do as you feel best. Just an American who misses your beautiful island and people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Reading the details: BNT162b2, and other 1st gen Covid vaccines, do not necessarily confer immune system recognition against newer P.1/P.2, the more deadly/contagious B.1.1.7, PCR-eluding B.1.1.6, and “game changing” B.1.351 spike protein mutations. Immune system health and function are too highly individualistic to generalize response time and effect. As dangerous faux-expert opinions like the above circulate, more strains will surely emerge.

        Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech have frantically submitted mRNA B.1.351 booster shots this week for initial trial testing, and it’s hoped something is ready by Fall 2021. In the meantime, it’s best not to confuse pre-election political expedience with sound public health policy. Hopefully there is some timely intervention by the Governor to avoid a decent into serious emergency conditions here.

        • Anonymous says:

          If we keep the quarantine for 10 days or more, how long do you think it will take before the entire hotel, restaurant, construction, rental properties and all of the ancillary businesses fail completely? The virus probably won’t go away even with vaccines. It will continue to mutate.

        • Anonymous says:

          No interest in arguing with you. I would consider myself a human being and not a expert. However, I will refer you to look up some of the excellent reviews of current literature about this topic. Please see Dr Monica Gandhi infectious disease specialist University of California San Francisco. You can watch her on a system called VUmedi. She does reviews of current literature on the topic. VUmedi is used in the US By physicians like myself to keep current. It is not political. I believe anyone can sign up, but I might be wrong. Good luck with your search for evidence based data.

          One great review she did of vaccine data showed that of 5 current COVID vaccines available they had 100,000 test subjects. (That is a large study group) ZERO in the vaccinated group were hospitalized or died.

        • Anonymous says:

          Any chance you have listened to Dr Gandhi’s reviews of research on COVID vaccines data?? I am wondering if the data will change your mind??

          I hope you notice the South African variant also had no deaths in the vaccinated group.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Resuming: borders will be opened only in 2022.
    First he came with: 90% of 60s and older.
    Now he comes with 70% of adults.
    Are you crazy or what?

  17. Anonymous says:

    i got first shot..jamaicans getting it left right and matter age…nurse at airport janaican and lettin all janaicans through…so you better go out there talking patwa…it works…

    • Anonymous says:

      Love the irony of a good xenophobic rant about “janaican patwa” written in first grade English.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s certainly not the experience I had at the airport last week. I had to prove that I was a teacher with either my ID badge or medical card, as well as show another piece of ID. My friend who is also a teacher went with her husband, and he was refused. The process was very well organised and did not allow nurses to be letting people in, as you had to go through the qualifying check before you even entered the airport. Could there have been a few people who snuck through on other occasions? Sure, but don’t make it seem like it’s rampant because there’s no way that would have happened on the day I was there, and my friends confirmed the same experience on other days.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Build the port!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    The timing and conditions for border opening should be a campaign issue, and ever candidate should clearly state their position.

    While my own view is of little or no consequence here, it’s only fair that whatever happens received the tacit approval of a majority of the people in the election.

    • Anonymous says:

      Covid-19 and new “game-changing” variants don’t care about our containment fatigue or political reopening ambitions. We should be responding to the changing data, not a prescribed reopen deadline. All that should matter are that 40% of third wave cases mid-March are going to be new variants, for which the Pfizer vaccines have diminished effect – and the unsettling background reality that we have only a couple dozen oxygenated icu beds. If we open, those beds are going to be filled and then some.

    • Anonymous says:

      It should NOT be political. The reason so many other countries let Covid become a catastrophe was because it was politicized. For the most part, Cayman handled it in a non-political way. 👍

      Border opening should be based on CURRENT scientific knowledge of the virus not the March 2020 mentality so many are hanging onto.

      The vaccines are being pushed hard with claims of them being 90%+ effective in preventing moderate to severe symptoms. As so many residents are getting the vaccine, there is little risk of a burden on the health care system. It’s also now known that treatment plans, for those not in high-risk groups, rarely involves hospitalization. These facts support border opening albeit not just a free-for-all either!

      Too many Caymanians are clinging to the fear we ALL felt when this pandemic started. It is not a joke or a hoax or “just the flu” but it is manageable. Good thing too as it’s not going to go away!

  20. Cheese Face says:

    Too early Alden. 100% of the population (that want the vaccination) should have it before you risk their lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      And that they will. If you want it then get it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except that some of us can’t get the vaccine for health reasons. I’m very pro covid vaccine and I wish I could participate. If you’re waiting for 100% compliance you’ll need to wait until people like me die off or emigrate.

    • Anonymous says:

      so if we have a stubborn/ignorant 5% who won’t take it…then what?….

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s their right!

      • Anonymous says:

        Read. They said 100% of those that want it. The stubborn 5% can gamble with their lives. There once was a guy called Darwin…

      • Cheese Face says:

        Then they don’t get it and we open the borders. I tried to make myself clear by saying “100% of the population (that want the vaccination)”

      • Anonymous says:

        Evolution. The gene pool will be modified and correct their ignorance.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Praise the lord that he won’t be in power then.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Should not open the boder until 100% of caymanians and residents have had both doses of a vaccine. Why should we residents be expose to potentially infected americans before we have had both vaccine shots?

    • Anonymous says:

      You won’t be exposed if you choose to get it!

      • Anonymous says:

        Twit! Read the post -its not that the op doesn’t want the shots, he hasn’t received them yet. And its not his choice – its when the same man that’s deciding when to opn the border decides to allow vaccination to Stage 3.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except 100% will never have it as it’s not approved for children …

      • Anonymous says:

        The flu is more deadly to children than Covid. Get vaccinated so you don’t have to worry about getting it from a kid.

    • Anonymous says:

      “100% of Caymanians and residents” is an impossible goal for a variety of reasons:
      – No one under age 16 is eligible for vaccine
      – People have health issues that prohibit them having vaccine
      – Some people don’t want it
      and most importantly…….
      – We have no freaking clue what our population even is because our census data is over ten years old! 🤦🏻‍♀️

  23. Anonymous says:

    If you’ve had both doses of the vaccine in another country why should you have to quarantine when visiting Cayman if most of the residents have also been fully vaccinated. Doesn’t make sense

    • Anonymous says:

      Because most of us aren’t vaccinated yet, just older people and those who know someone at the airport line..

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the vaccine protects you from serious illness but doesn’t necessarily stop you from becoming infected and spreading it to others. Not everyone who wants to be vaccinated here has been and they also want to be safe.

  24. Anonymous says:

    you can open the border as long as no social restrictions accompany that…i am not going into semi-lockdown for the sake a very small number of tourists.

    • Anonymous says:

      Small number…..Look around people are traveling!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep! Lots of travel to other islands been going on for months!! Cayman is usually a favorite location though so hoping we reclaim some of our tourism.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Open up the border!

  26. Anonymous says:

    The math isnt going to work unless the UK significantly increases the pace of shipments here.

    To dual-dose 42,000 people (70% of the population) would require 84,000 doses. Cayman has received 34,500 official doses in the last two months (the five-dose vials can be stretched to 6 or even 7 shots if the proper micro-syringe is used). So roughly 50,000 more doses would need to arrive.

    When you factor in the administration time and 3-week wait for the last group for the second dose, we are more likely looking at end of June if the 70% criterion is used.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention visitors bringing in new variants, in which case booster shots will be required.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fake news! So far the Phizer vaccine is the best and has shown positive results on all variants.

    • Anonymous says:

      However, the target is 70% of the adult population, so if we assume that approximately 20% of the overall population is under the age of 16, that gives a figure of 33,600 to be vaccinated in order to reach 70%, or 67,200 doses. Around 38,000 doses have already been received, so that basis over half the necessary vaccine is already in hand, with under 30,000 doses outstanding. Assuming future shipments are of similar size to that received on 11 Feb (15,000 doses), all of the vaccine required could conceivably be on island by the end of March, at which stage it simply becomes an exercise in how fast it can be put into the remaining arms. There doesn’t seem any reason that ought to take 3 months as you suggest.

      • Bean counter says:

        OK lets look at your maths. Population of 65000 says government. Assuming you are right about the under 16s being 20% that leaves 52000 adults. 7800 have had both Shots, leaving 44200, of which 6400 have had one shot. To fully vaccinate will take 6400 x1 shot, 37800 x2 for a total of 82000 vaccinations. At 400 a day it would take over 200 days. Even going for 70% of adults would mean you had to vaccinate 36400 people – 7800 already done, 6400 single shots and 22200 x 2 shots =50800 shots at 400 per day= 127 days.

        It is an exercise of how fast you can put it in the arms – the problem is that they ae doing it dreadfully slowly.

        • Anonymous says:

          Can’t put it in an arm that doesn’t show up and consent to it if said owner of arm thinks that it’s the mark of the beast. Nutcases.

        • Anonymous says:

          I actually think assuming 20% is way too low for under 16s. Many families have multiple children.

          For just my IMMEDIATE family (my parents, their children & spouses, grandchildren) 4 out of 11 of us are under 16. That is 36%.

          In the case of three of my best friends….3 out 5 (60%) are under age 16 in their houses and another best friend is 2 out of 4 (50%).

          Not having accurate census data is problematic when an event is tied to a specific target. We could be left waiting to hit a number of doses that is impossible to hit.

    • Anonymous says:

      What’s math? Also it shouldn’t be 90% of the over 60s. It should be 100% of the over 60s who wish to take the vaccine. We cannot force those who don’t want to take it, nor should we be held for ransom by them.

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