Here in the Cayman Islands, we are fortunate to have the COVID-19 vaccine so easily accessible. You may be wondering if there’s an advantage to getting the vaccine when the borders open rather than now.
Here are four reasons why you should get the COVID-19 vaccine now as opposed to later:
We’re on the clock
Although we know the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at keeping people from becoming very sick, the majority of our information about the vaccine’s effectiveness is now on their effects on the current Variants of Concern (VoC).
New variants of COVID-19 are rapidly emerging. Although some variants emerge and later disappear, Variants of Concern (VoC) are spreading more easily and rapidly, leading to an increased number of hospitalisations, and in worse cases, death.
More and more studies suggest that the currently authorised vaccines, including the Pfizer/BioNTech available in the Cayman Islands, work on the variants currently circulating and becoming the dominant strain in many countries. The best way to stop the virus from mutating into a new variant, strain, or a VoC, is to stop it in its tracks with a vaccine.
Serious reactions are rare
The CDC and FDA have kept a watchful eye on serious adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines. Serious reactions are rare.
Side effects are not the same as allergic reactions. Some people may be allergic to some of the ingredients in a vaccine, this can sometimes cause allergic reactions and that is why you are asked to wait 10-15 minutes in the vaccination centre before leaving.
Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to food, an identified drug or vaccine, or an insect sting can receive any COVID-19 vaccine if they are not known to be allergic to components of the vaccine. Anaphylaxis is very rare, but the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) has advised that individuals with a history of immediate onset anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or unexplained anaphylaxis should not be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
You can read more about what to expect when getting the COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the Cayman Islands here.
Vaccine supply is limited
Vaccine supply is limited worldwide for many different reasons. One consists of the transportation process of the vaccine. Some COVID-19 vaccines, like Pfizer/BioNTech, must be shipped at -70 degrees Celsius. Pfizer/BioNTech has a shelf-life in ultra-low freezers of six months. Once opened, and thawed, the vials cannot be re-frozen.
The whole world also wants the COVID-19 vaccine, so supply is limited. Think of it this way, if you have a packet of mints and everyone in the office asks for one you’re probably going to run out of the first packet pretty quickly and, when you do, not only will all your mints be finished but you’ll have people left who asked but did not receive. If somebody in the office initially passed on those mints then they are more than likely to lose their turn if the opportunity arises again.
In other words, you are encouraged to take the vaccine when it’s your turn because due to limited supplies around the world, another ‘turn’ will not be guaranteed.
Vaccines are our best hope for returning to normal
As we vaccinate an increasing number of people within our community, we increase our chances of protecting each other from severe infection even in the case the virus becomes endemic (like the flu) and is here to stay. Getting vaccinated means we will be one step closer to opening our borders, one step closer to hugging our family overseas, and one step closer to attending universities in person.
Even though the Cayman Islands is experiencing a best-case possible scenario, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will not only help us get one step closer to doing the things that we love, but will also protect our community once our borders reopen to the world.
Visit our COVID-19 vaccine pages to learn more about the vaccine and how it works.