COVID-19 Prevention F.A.Qs
This section covers questions relating to the prevention of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands. Click the links below to skip to the relevant questions or scroll down to read more:
- Are face masks effective at reducing transmission of COVID-19?
- Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
- How Effective And Safe Is This COVID-19 Vaccine?
- Who Can Get The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
- Does hand sanitiser protect against COVID-19?
- Is it better to wash hands and your rings together? Or is it better to remove rings and clean every part of the hand?
- What should I stock up on?
- How do I reduce my risk of acquiring COVID-19?
Are face masks effective at reducing transmission of COVID-19?Face masks play a small role in stopping people with COVID-19 from spreading the virus. The Chief Medical Officer is warning the public to use caution when using masks, especially homemade masks as there are limitations to their use, which include:
- they have not been tested to recognised standards;
- they are not likely to provide protection against virus-sized particles;
- the edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth;
- the fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators;
- they can be difficult to breathe through; and
- they may require frequent adjustment, increasing the amount of times your hands come into contact with your face and increasing the probability of infection.
There is some evidence that wearing a mask (surgical or non-surgical) may offer healthy persons some protection. The masks will only act as a partial barrier to stop some larger droplets from spreading the virus responsible for COVID-19.
The public is reminded that social distancing and thorough attention to hygiene must continue to be practiced as the best form of defense.
Read more on face masks here.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
Yes, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This vaccine is used in Cayman Islands through assistance provided by the United Kingdom to the UKOTs.
You can learn more here.
Cabinet has also approved a list of vaccines as of 9 November 2021. For the list, click here.
How Effective And Safe Is This COVID-19 Vaccine?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offers up to 95% protection against COVID-19 disease from the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Following the emergence of the Delta variant, latest data suggest that the vaccine offers lower protection against this strain with 80% protection against symptomatic disease. However, protection against serious illness and death is good where the Pfizer-BioNtech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines reduce the risk of death by 85%.
It is important to note that before a vaccine is shown to be safe and effective, numerous steps needed to be achieved before mass distribution. Additionally, the MHRA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States continue to do continuous and intense safety monitoring.
The safety and immunogenicity of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were evaluated in clinical trials in six countries: the USA, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey.
The clinical trials looked at the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine in different age groups and at different dose levels. Over 43,500 participants took part in the clinical trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Half of the participants received the COVID-19 vaccine and the other half received a placebo vaccine. Results from phase three clinical trials suggest that the vaccine can prevent 95% of vaccinated adults from getting COVID-19 disease and that the vaccine works equally well in people in different age groups, races and ethnicities. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.
Following an additional study in aged 12-15 years, which generated additional safety and efficacy data, the approval was extended to those in this age group in June 2021.
The vaccine is now approved by the (MHRA) for use in people 12 years old and over, and is also approved by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration for use in people aged 16 and over. The FDA continues its emergency use authorisation for 12-15 year-olds.
Who Can Get The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
Anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive the vaccine. There may be some circumstances in which children below 12 years of age may be given the vaccine, for example if they are in a medical high risk group.
The MHRA is no longer advising that individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to any vaccine, medicine or food do not get the vaccine. Anyone with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it, but those with any other allergies (such as a food or penicillin allergy) can have the vaccine.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can have the vaccine.
Individuals who are immunosuppressed or have, for example, HIV infection (regardless of CD4 count) should be vaccinated.
People who have health conditions such as heart disease, lung or kidney disease should be vaccinated as COVID-19 can worsen the disease.
Does hand sanitiser protect against COVID-19?
Alcohol gels don’t kill some viruses – such as norovirus and rhinovirus – but the coronavirus has an envelope structure that alcohol can attack. Hand sanitisers with more than 60 per cent alcohol content are most effective at killing microbes.
Is it better to wash hands and your rings together? Or is it better to remove rings and clean every part of the hand?
The most thorough washing suggests you remove all jewellery, including rings, so you can reach all surfaces on your hands when washing them thoroughly.
What should I stock up on?
It is best to prepare in case you need to self-isolate by ensuring you have at least two weeks’ supply of pain relievers such as Tylenol or Paracetamol (acetaminophen), soap or hand sanitisers, tissues, food and other items that will ensure your comfort while you are at home.
For more guidance on isolation planning, visit here.
How do I reduce my risk of acquiring COVID-19?
The following ways have been documented as the most effective measures in reducing the transmission of COVID-19:
- Frequently cleanse hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Cough or sneeze in a tissue and bin it.
- If a tissue is not available, cough/sneeze into your elbow and not your hands (with or without a mask).
- Stay home as much as possible, only leave for essential trips.
- Practice social distancing, stay at least six feet away from other people who are not members of your household at all times.
- Masks may be used in public but must be accompanied with other prevention measures listed previously.