Turner challenges vaccine misinformation

| 30/07/2021 | 212 Comments
Health Minister Sabrina Turner delivers message about COVID misinformation

(CNS): Health Minister Sabrina Turner has appealed to the public to use good judgement and common sense over the misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine circulating on social media and being promoted in the local community. She asked people to learn the facts and data about the vaccine from sources like the World Health Organization or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cayman has reached a plateau with its vaccination programme and over the last few weeks the number of people seeking out the vaccine slowed to a trickle. On Friday public health officials revealed that 126 people had got their first shot and 275 had completed the two-dose course over the last day, with the national rate still stuck at 67% fully vaccinated.

In an interview with Donna Bush on CIGTV, Turner said the vaccination has been scientifically proven to be the best available form of defence against COVID-19. The minister warned that the unvaccinated are putting themselves and their loved ones at greater risk of getting sick from the coronavirus.

Despite the government’s best efforts at education, Turner accepted that some people will remain anti-vaccine and there would be no mandate for people to get the shots, but she said that people needed to be aware what it means not to be vaccinated.

“We are respectful as well of those who are against vaccination. We’re not radical, we’re not dictators,” she said, adding that the primary concern was keeping people safe. “We have to respect the rights of people. I don’t feel that any point in time ever was it pushed from this ministry, myself or my government that anything would be mandatory.”

But she added that people “should be fully aware and alert that, based on what we’re seeing, if you choose not to [be vaccinated] for whatever reason, your risk of contracting this with long-term side effects and possible long life-lasting damages could be much more severe than somebody who has some form of armour or protection… I’m hoping that the majority will prevail, and at some point in time they will see the importance of having the vaccine and making sure that they’re vaccinated, so that you’re not faced full-blown with having no form of coverage whatsoever.”

A global public health concern around vaccine misinformation is the risk of it leading to a reduction in vaccine uptake. In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global public health.

Minister Turner said data was critical and exposure to misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines may lower an individual’s intent to get vaccinated against the disease. A recent study has found that “scientific sounding” misinformation, using imagery or links to articles, was more strongly associated with a decrease in vaccination intent. She noted a London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine survey that found that 6.2% of participants exposed to vaccine misinformation who had planned to get vaccinated changed their minds, and urged people to use reputable sources to get informed about the COVID-19 vaccine.

It is now less than six weeks before Cayman opens its borders and just over a week before government plans to stop electronically monitoring vaccinated people in home isolation and allowing them to quarantine on trust.

One more person currently in isolation tested positive over the last day. There are currently ten active cases of the virus among those who are in quarantine either at a home or in a government facility, one of whom remains in hospital, though they are said to be recovering. Four others are also suffering some symptoms of the coronavirus.

View Minister Turner’s interview below:

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 Insurance

Comments (212)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If every expat in this country decided to leave rather than take the vaccine, companies would shut down and Cayman’s economy would crash; we simply don’t have the fiduciary and financial capabilities in the caymanian population to keep financial services division open. And without it, tourism wouldn’t function properly either. We should be cognizant of that and not tempt them to leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 7:34 am.

      Stop being an “Alarmist”!

      Expats are intertwined in the fabric of the community (work,relationships,etc…), and they are not a monolithic group.
      So, relax yourself nobody is tempted to leave,to go anywhere fast.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Vaccine should be part of the work permit like blood tests and xrays

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting article on vaccine hesitancy in the Lancet.

    It turns out that about 3-4% of the population are terrified of needles. This group is likely to make up crazy stuff about the vaccine to mask their fear.


    In other news it was discovered that the people most likely to spread ridiculous nonsense about Covid vaccines are males with very very tiny penises. 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      What date did the Health Minister get her shot? Did all M P’s get their shots ?

    • Anonymous says:

      7.05 your final sentence will most certainly motivate Caribbean males to get the vaccine..

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you are going on faith, what level of assurance are you getting that you will be ok, once the border is open?

    The science is showing high level of effectiveness against the coronavirus.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNN is where the NSAs ex general Keith Alexander works, after lying to congress.

      Its about as good as RT. People should avoid it like the plague.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ok so what about the 80%??? The math can’t work

  6. Anonymous says:

    At least she doesnt sound like a robot when she isnt reading from a script.

  7. Anonymous says:

    ‘Respect the rights of people’..????…. Right…. But we will mandate vaccination with the expats on permits…

    • Anonymous says:

      Getting/keeping a work permit is still a choice!

      • Anonymous says:

        Sigh – its not that expats have a choice to make in getting the vaccine in order to keep their job – its the fact that Caymanians are not required to make that choice. Its about the hypocrisy of saying the latter is about respecting peoples rights, when not offering the same courtesy to non Caymanians. Its basically saying expats are not “people”.

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