Sat | Feb 27, 2021

Caymanians urged to take COVID vaccine

Published:Friday | January 8, 2021 | 9:37 AM
Premier Alden McLaughlin became the first Caymanian to take the COVID-19 vaccine on January 7, 2021 – Contributed photo

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin has urged citizens to “do our duty” and take the COVID-19 vaccine to help the islands return to normalcy.

After receiving his jab Thursday morning, McLaughlin addressed the country in a televised press conference, emphasising that the vaccine was safe and was the only realistic route out of the challenges posed by a pandemic.

The Cayman Compass reports that he told the press conference that pre-arrival testing for people coming into Cayman would be required from Thursday, January 14.

It was further reported that all arrivals will be required to produce a negative PCR COVID-19 test, taken at least 72 hours prior to the departure of their flight.

McLaughlin reportedly urged people to ignore the doubters spreading misinformation about the vaccines and said Cayman’s residents should come together – as they had done during lockdown – to get immunised for the good of the country.

“We have to come together and do the right thing and get vaccinated and cure this virus,” he was quoted as saying.

The premier said Cayman’s leaders had “led from the front” by publicly getting their jabs on national television Thursday morning.

“I assure the public, the vaccine is safe,” he said.

“We did this because it is our duty to do so.”

By the end of March, the premier said, enough of the islands’ population could be vaccinated for some travel and tourism to resume.

But he said that would only be possible if everyone did their part.

The aim is to vaccinate 70% of the adult population in Cayman, he added.

The premier thanked the UK government for providing the vaccines free of charge and said Cayman’s relationship with the mother country had paid massive dividends.

Governor Martyn Roper, who also got the jab Thursday morning, said the next set of vaccines would be arriving in the coming weeks.

He added, “Despite the current challenging situation in the UK, the UK is fully committed to supplying vaccines to the Overseas Territories.”

He said Cayman had been the first of the territories to receive the vaccine.

The governor encouraged people to ignore social media misinformation and to rely on credible sources.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said the strategy was to protect the elderly and vulnerable first, as well as healthcare workers.

Once those people are vaccinated and safe from COVID-19, he said, government would be in a position to consider easing travel restrictions.

The current plan is to vaccinate residents and staff of care homes, individuals over 70, healthcare workers and first responders and frontline staff dealing with travel in the first tranche of vaccinations.

Next will be adults over 60 with ‘relevant health status’ and then essential government workers.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.