Premier sticking with 80% target on vaccine

| 29/07/2021 | 183 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Wayne Panton and Troy Leacock at the CITA meeting

(CNS): Premier Wayne Panton has confirmed the target of vaccinating 80% of the population against COVID-19 before the borders are open. Even though the number of people taking up the vaccine is now just a trickle, he stated that government was not prepared to revise the target at this point and that any consideration about changing that or switching to a ‘plan B’ would be made closer to the date.

Speaking at the Cayman Islands Tourism Association meeting on Thursday, Panton made it very clear that, despite the pressure from those in the sector, the PACT Government wants to see as many people in Cayman vaccinated as possible before the borders open, as health remains the priority over economics.

With just 49 people getting there first dose over the last day and 61 completing the two-dose course, there were no changes to the national rates of 67% and 70% of the population respectively just six weeks ahead of the proposed 9 September opening date.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus is still being picked up in travellers in quarantine and isolation as another two tested positive over the last day. There are currently eleven active cases of the virus among the 1,299 people in quarantine.

Check back to CNS tomorrow for a full report from CITA and more details on government’s plans for reopening the border, mandatory vaccines for permit holders and the way to ensure that Cayman can be the first country in the world to open safely and not cycle back into lockdown.

See the vaccine schedule on the HSA website here.

For more information on vaccines contact the HSA Communications team at

See here for more information on securely verifiable vaccination records.

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Category: Health, health and safety, Local News, Travel

Comments (183)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How many members of the Pact government have been fully and verifiably vaccinated Wayne? We will keep asking until you tell us the truth.

  2. Anonymous says:

    These blatant human rights violations will be paid for when the truth is revealed.

  3. Anon says:

    You can allow F-Boys to be filmed without residents exclusively, meaning someone is entering the country who is not allowed, yet not open tourism. It does not make sense.

    Can any government official answer why?

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is no plan to get the vax rate up higher other than offering a free burger. At least ALT has a plan.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I just do not understand 80% of the population, so he is including children that cannot be vaccinated plus those with health issues that cannot take it (very small amount). Tell us what is the percentage of 12+ age group that can be vaccinated and out of that population how many are? We already know that the 50+ age group is over 80%. In my opinion the PACT just is not prepared to open, hence the unrealistic goal and pathetic plan (no plan). There are smart and safe ways of opening but they just do not want to hear it, I’ve tried several times to explain and all I get is silence, can’t even give me a good reason for their planning besides the “we listen to Dr. Lee (pain management doctor – laughable) and the Governor (not an expert)”. At this point I strongly believe we should petition and cause attention to the island for locking the boarders for so long, and please hold off by saying I can leave. First of all, no I cannot because now we have to give a reason (communist action). If people need to travel let them, open up flights so that the Uni kids can go back easily and those seeking medical needs aren’t stressing due to lack of flights plus price gouging needs to stop and stop calling all flights repatriation because WE are not in a state of emergency (would love to know the legality on this) and secondly, this is my home I am Caymanian, BUT I chose to be vaccinated along with my entire family to protect ourselves and people on this island. Yes, I can still get the virus and yes, I can still pass it onto a non vaccinated individual BUT I am not going to stop my life because of misinformation, false information, from non experts. I did my research, I’ve spoken to friends and family who are EMTs and doctors living abroad who have dealt with not only COVID19 but with the Delta variant people who had it plus personally know two people that work with Pfizer. Once I gathered all the information I shared with my entire family and we all decided to take the vaccine. Everyone needs to understand the virus will continue to mutate so either we learn to live with it or we stay living in fear with anxiety, stress and watch our love ones lose their businesses, homes and livelihood because Government didn’t want to make a decision to open smart and safely rather they put fear in people by just bringing up death (extreme view). I guess everyone is comfortable staying locked up but our investors (folks that own properties will pull out, real estate will drop drastically your property will probably be worth nothing, businesses will close, financial sector will start moving out, people will leave including Caymanians). Stop and think about that for a minute, life in Cayman as you know it may no longer be. Yeah sounds extreme but it’s reality if we keep going down this path of no plan PACT, we cannot stay locked down. Peace out.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t knock the government for fear mongering in regards to mortality then you turn around and do the same thing with regards to our financial situation . I mean you can but the hypocrisy undermines your point.

      The world is scrambling right now to achieve what we have and you want us to jeapordize that because YOU don’t like the vaccination goals and time frames? Because YOU know 2 Pfizer employees? YOU do NOT know what will happen if we open up now nor do you know what will happen if we hold out for 80%.

      Humble yourself or go take Dr Lee’s job since you’re so qualified and have access to all of the necessary data to guide us thru this ordeal.

      Ffs everybody is an expert now.

  6. I suggesting says:

    It’s fair to let the people free if they want to go. It may bring peace to everyone.

    To allay the fear?
    Here is a unique opportunity
    Those remaining (unvaccinated and vaccinated) and COVID free ( no community spread)
    Compare with the rest of the world – community spread.
    Also compare the two groups remaining.
    Do we check the vitals, do we check the telomeres, ..,
    Also : meat eaters vs non-meat eaters; smoke vs vape, Marijuana vs cigarettes vs alcohol, and other psychedelics; sunlight vs lack of sunlight

    There is a live event happening, document your experience to become a best seller. One story doesn’t has to be told.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can we add to the “Like” “Dislike” choices? Perhaps a “Huh???”

      • Anonymous says:

        Hypothetically, the vaccine unvaccinated should be the control group.
        The parameters as stated by the pro vac:
        1. No eating in restaurants,
        2. No Bars
        3. Wearing of face mask in public
        4. What other rights do you pro vacs wants to take from the unvaccinated.
        Then compare the findings.
        I am posting on a pro vac website, I will need a higher help.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Some that want to be vaccinated are still too young to be vaccinated. They also need to be protected by enough of our population getting the vaccine.
    We are lucky to have easy access to what is looking like the best vaccine currently available. I’m sure it will receive full approval soon, in which case those saying that it is only approved for emergency use will no longer have that excuse as a reason not to get vaccinated.
    If government are mandating the vaccine for expats, they should mandate it across the board..not fair to single out a segment of our society.

  8. Nobody says:

    So just how smart are the chosen ones of the Cayman Islands? Soon the vaccine excuse will be made moot as the numbers will continue to show not much effect against the “new” strain. Plan on CIG and all those businesses that feed CIG are the only ones left operating in the islands in the near “new” future.

  9. Could we please says:

    we move the census up or gets some actual details on how PAC thinks we might get to 80% of the guesstimate.

    Because this clearly isn’t working.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, you couldnt make it up. The civil service miscalculate the population- which it appears no one has been held accountable for such a massive oversight – the government then set what is an unachievable vaccination target against this fictiucious number. At the same time the cig magic money tree carries on promising hugely expansive public spending plans based on a development fairy tale. One significant storm and that plan is in complete tatters. No tourism before 2022, no chance of travel without restrictions for both locals and expats, the beautiful islands continue to be destroyed through greed and corruption and our politicians sit in an ivory tower telling each “things will be ok” whilst continuing to have their nose in the trough- awarding themselves a payrise whilst people struggle to make ends meet. Jesus wept.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So there’s a plan B?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Closed borders = less work for our rookie politicians. Right now all they have to do is pass out money. Don’t expect much different anytime soon.

  13. Anonymous says:

    No more nonsense! Open the border to vaccinated residents & tourists without the quarantine! People had enough time to get vaccinated, get trained, ruin the economy.
    Enough is enough- open the border!!

  14. Guido Marsupio says:

    I think CIG should give $100 for each shot now, first shot and second shot. It may be the quickest and ultimately the cheapest way to get to 80%. There are costs associated with waiting for this to happen “naturally” and that may take a long time, so paying a small amount to speed it up is justified.

    • Anonymous says:

      Probably cheaper than continuing to keep the border closed and paying the stipend.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. Stop offering things to the ones who are keeping us down. Pay everyone who has both jabs $500, then people will fall in line.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The government does not want the border opened. The crushing lack of intelligence underpinning their position is very telling and doesn’t bode well for the future.

  16. Anonymous says:

    these are the only real questions to be asked:
    what happens if(when) we don’t reach 80%?
    what is plan b?
    what do they think will happen if the let vaccinated residents travel freely?
    what is caymans plan for dealing with covid when it gets here?
    who will get sick and how many? can our health system cope?
    i will wait for answers…. but the truth is, caymans spinless politicians will only re-open when the rest of the world declares the pandemic over.

  17. Anonymous says:

    idiot….now what is the response of cita and the chamber????

  18. Asken says:

    The stupid and selfish 30% have made it clear they don’t mind dying with a tube down their throat. So why punish the rest of the population?

  19. Anonymous says:

    This government created restrictions for people taking part in parades when the same people have been interacting with each other every day for over a year in bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.

    Does anyone still believe the people in charge are capable of leading Cayman through any type of reopening? These decisions are illogical and cloaked in fear. Becoming very difficult to have any faith in this Government having the competence to lead a practical measured approach going forward.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you go to Cayman Airways offsite office you have to wear a mask. Then you go to Foster’s, pharmacy, gas station and anywhere else and mingle with the same people with no mask. Sheep training is most irritating.

  20. Stuffed says:

    Presumably public money will not be spent on medical treatment for those that choose not to have the vaccine and insurers can choose not to pay for the treatment for those that opt out … Don’t see why premia should increase because of Fox News watching idiots.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Based on a made up number of residents? Cool…

  22. Anonymous says:

    It would be nice to know what percentage of government employees have not been vaccinated, I suspect it is a good number of people, I doubt Franz has the balls to even mandate a questionnaire for this, it’s easy for them to sit back and not get the vaccine when their paychecks are guaranteed,

  23. Anonymous says:

    A great leader always puts off decisions to the last minute.

  24. Anonymous says:

    So, border closed forever?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Wow, 6 people per hour stepped up for first doses. We need just under 8,000 more first doses and then we have a chance. Getting close!

    For all the negative naysayers out there, hope you enjoy watching Wayne shake the hand of the 71,100th first doser!

    You guys will look so foolish in November 2022 when that accountant expat walks off the chartered flight to receive a required jab (expired, but vial doesn’t yet smell bad). And they laughed when it was said this would all be behind us in just 32 short months!

  26. Anonymous says:

    No plan B because there really isn’t a plan A.
    Total madness.

  27. Anonymous says:


  28. Anonymous says:

    What percentage of our population are children under the age of 12? Should we note be aiming for 80% of the eligible population rather than the total population?

  29. Anonymous says:

    I am as pro vax as you get… I think it is impossible in a reasonable debate to argue that anyone able, but unwilling, to get the vaccine offered to us so early (we are so lucky… countries are begging for our vaccines) is anything other than a selfish horrible individual, but the 80 per cent should be on over 18’s. Not kids. The vaccine rate here over 30 is the highest in the world. The uk just opened up fully and now is ending travel bans to the EU and US. And there is no risk.

    The Cayman policy and some commentators on CNS seems to be, and believe, that we can keep Covid out of the community forever. Never going to happen. Covid is here to stay. The last coronavirus in 1890 was still spreading 100 years later. We have the vaccine, we need to accept that we are never going to be Covid free but the vaccine will minimize deaths.

    On another note, do any people have any ideas how to survive this summer in cayman now we clearly can’t travel? I refuse to put my vacation expenses in staycations or anywhere with someone unvaccinated, so may just look to take a year off next year when we open at caymans expense.

  30. Anonymous says:

    For God’s sake, just allow people to freely travel. We are on a small island. That would be a good faith first step. No chance of 10,000 second doses in next 6 weeks.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Open the border Panton!

  32. Anonymous says:

    It’s obvious this Govt wants to keep us shut down.
    An unattainable target from day one.
    Simple question is …..WHY?
    Open the borders!!
    Vaxxers/Anti Vaxxers and those that are neither need to get on the streets.
    Enough is enough !!!!!

  33. Anonymous says:

    OK Mr Panton, I wasn’t able to see my parents in 2 years. My dad died in April. I want to see my mom now. I can’t because I can’t win the Cayman Airways lottery and find one damn single seat to get to Miami. That is all I need because if I can get onto Miami I can easily get home. Please, please allow more Cayman Airways flights.

    I voted for you, but you are the least transparent leader Cayman has ever had. You are a hollow, uncaring empty suit.

    You need to step up, engage with the media, answer questions. Have regular press conferences. You are apparently cowering because you don’t like criticism. But people will respect you more if you communicate, answer questions, give your thoughts.

    The silent, dispassionate dictator. Very, very disappointed in you. This is clearly over your head.

  34. anon says:


  35. Anonymous says:

    There are some people and entities that would be willing to allow the COVID-19 delta variant to kill of an untold number of people if it would result in them being able to make CI$1.00.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am one of them. It’s time to get on with our lives and let nature take its course.


  36. Anonymous says:

    The US has just mandated vaccination and testing for federal employees. We should do the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope, it is get vaccinated OR tested. Like how you paraphrased that to suit your cause.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Why are you sleeping on this issue Wayne?? The time for carrot or stick is now. We’re not going to get to 80% by wishing it away. Show some leadership.

    It’s high time we opened up the country. This was originally a temporary measure.

  38. Yolande says:

    Can CNS PLEASE obtains latest facts and stats on
    How many ICU rooms there are across CI hospitals?
    How many trained ICU nurses there are on island?
    Who are The ICU equipment and oxygen suppliers and Governments ease of access to such supplies/suppliers? Latest stock levels?

    The vaccine is supposed to help the hospitals cope in event of outbreak. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are still ending up in hospital so how will Caymans hospitals cope when the borders open?

    Last news article on this was from April last year. What’s changed? Hopefully vaccinating is not the only plan in place.

    Thank you.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Where is the promised vaccination initiative????

    Other places are at least trying and often succeeding with innovative thinking.

    • Anonymous says:

      They put up a few billboards, mostly in areas where vaccination rates are already high. #worldclass

  40. Anonymous says:

    If you decide to leave the borders closed – which looks like it could be a very long time – can you at least add more flights so some people can actually leave/return? I don’t see how that would be threatening given the protocols already in place for travelers. There is certainly a demand from people who are still waiting to leave or return.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the Premier’s stance on health versus dollars but really wish that his government would take some initiative to encourage vaccinations. Other countries are trying many different things to overcome vaccine hesitancy. We seem to be just staffing the Owen Roberts site day after day and wondering why that is not working.

  42. Anonymous says:

    It would be nice if Wayne would at least explain what they are doing to try to get to 80%. At the last press briefing there was discussion about another lottery but I haven’t heard anything else about it. Hopefully there will be positive news about making it mandatory for WP holders at least. It seems like there is so much misinformation out there that maybe an education campaign would be a good idea.

    It would also be nice if he would just have another press briefing. The last one was over six weeks ago and during that time, they developed their reopening plan. That seems significant enough to warrant one.

  43. Anonymous says:

    A decision will be made closer to the date = we have no alternative plan because we barely have a primary plan.

    The uncertainty and timidity is palpable.

  44. Anonymous says:

    So CITA -You in? What percentage of your members staff are vaccinated?

  45. WB says:

    WOW! Why would the govt cycle back into lockdowns when it’salready proven that lockdows don’t work?

  46. Mc says:

    Those that WANT it have taken it!!
    So it makes no sense for government to say they want to see as many people vaccinated because it is crystal clear that those who have not taken it do not want it.
    Can’t keep us locked up forever!
    Set us free!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hundreds of persons in the tourism industry, the same industry that is demanding we reopen, have not. Let’s see some leadership (including evidence of vaccination as part of the criteria for stipends beyond August).

    • Anon says:

      We need the uk to say that if we don’t open up, no more flights, air bridge or freight from London. It’s like bay marriage… when cayman fails as a country, let the us do the right thing and correct their overseas territory

    • BigHugeMistake says:

      Apparently, PACT can keep us locked up forever.

      Panton won’t share any details of “Plan B” because there is no “Plan B.” There is no intention to reopen the border and placing the burden on the unvaccinated to reach the vaccination target provides PACT with someone else to blame for the border remaining closed.

      I for one and sick of this government not living up to their claim to be transparent. They are nothing of the sort. If they were good leaders they would have a backup plan, and they would not be afraid to share it with the public. I regret wanting this group in office. As Julia Robert’s said in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake, big huge mistake.”

  47. Anonymous says:

    It would help if the government knew how many people were in the country wouldn’t it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, Roy. It would!

    • Anonymous says:

      We did know that, we then deducted the thousands who left, and magicked them back to prevent reopening.

    • Anonymous says:

      They know exactly how many people have come and gone from this island since the border was shut. Its not like you can board a plane without giving your name. The fact that they won’t give this number shows they are lying.

    • Anonymous says:

      @7:05. Make sure you participate in the upcoming census so he will get an accurate figure. Also endure your friends participate as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        Will all census takers be verifiably vaccinated? Not opening my door until the question has been answered.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly why waiting for the census would be smart.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank the ESO for that farce.

  48. Anonymous says:


    • CSF says:

      It’s unrealistic, short-sighted, economically damaging and frustrating in the extreme – for most if not all sectors of society – but I’m not sure it is ridiculous.

      Cayman has done a truly phenomenal job of protecting public health for an enviable period of time and, until a highly effective vaccine (and it IS still highly effective, even with the latest variants) was made widely available. Even though the border closure was very challenging for everyone (whether in Cayman or elsewhere, and seeking to return), it was undoubtedly the right decision. The previous government should be commended for that.

      But things have changed. Although it is a tremendously difficult decision to make to expose the unvaccinated in society to what could be a dangerous virus for them – and can you imagine how guilty and devastated the decision-makers will feel if/when the controls are relaxed, there is community spread of the virus, and a person or people die? – it is surely time for those decision-makers to consider the interests and views of the majority of the country’s residents who have been vaccinated (to protect both themselves and the broader community) on the understanding that the country would reopen.

      The majority of people in Cayman (vaccinated and unvaccinated) appear to want to see a cautious reopening, although it’s hard to tell for sure absent clear polling and/or a referendum which, of course and rightly or wrongly depending on your point of view, would only take into account the views of a relatively small portion of society.

      I don’t see the vaccination rate increasing sufficiently without either a set reopening date and/or a stick or sticks to accompany the carrot (although I haven’t heard about any carrots for a while). I keep hearing of unvaccinated people (both Caymanian and expat) who have no intention of being vaccinated “unless or until they have to”.

      A number of people travelling this summer have remarked that they are glad they did, as they have seen how the place they travelled to is moving on and adapting to living with the virus. It seems to be a lot less scary than they feared. It may be impossible for political reasons for members of our new government to travel at the moment but I wonder whether, if any of them did so, they might benefit from seeing people carrying on with life, socially distancing/mask-wearing as necessary, and doing so without fuss or bother. Covid is NOT the flu – and it should be taken very seriously – but like the flu it is not going anywhere.

      Enough of the 80% target. Wait for that, and we could be waiting forever. And in the meantime, our government should stop procrastinating and get on with introducing a few carrots & sticks.

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