Last Updated July 22, 2022, 12:19 PM

We know you might be thinking about the COVID-19 vaccine and what that means for you and your family. We also understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s important to note that vaccination is not mandatory for anyone. This information has been compiled to give you all the important information you may need to know about the COVID-19 vaccination programme for the Cayman Islands.

Here you will find FAQs to see where you fit in when it comes to the roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine. These may also address some of your concerns.

About the Vaccine

Anyone over the age of 5 years old in the Cayman Islands may receive the vaccine.

Persons over the age of 12 years old can visit the vaccination clinic at any time during the opening hours on the schedule. This is true for dose one and dose two.

Persons between the ages of 5 - 11 years old must have an appointment.

The schedule is available here.

What Happens On The Day?

When you arrive at the clinic, simply join the back of the queue. A member of staff will be along shortly to check on you and provide any further instructions. If you need assistance, especially if you are an older person, you can let them know and they will do their best to help you.

 

What Should I Bring With Me?

There are a few things that you need, no matter who you are, in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the Cayman Islands:

  • A face mask or covering: You need this to enter the building. You cannot get a vaccine without one. 
  • Identification: Any government photo ID stating your first & last name and date of birth.
  • If this is your second dose, bring your vaccination card: You will be given this at your first dose. This is your evidence that you have been vaccinated.

 

Do not laminate your vaccination card, ever. It is an original document, and some countries will not accept a document that has been laminated

 

 

What Is The Wait For The Vaccine Queue Like?

Like any queue, the length of the line varies throughout the day. It is never any busier than around a 30-minute wait, but at certain periods of the day, the queue can be as small as 5-10 minutes.

Because of limited space, the queue is outside and open to the elements. You might want to bring sunscreen, a hat, or some shade to make sure you are comfortable during the wait. Persons 60 years and old or with mobility issues are given priority in line.

 

What Will I Be Asked To Do? 

Here’s a list of things you may be asked to do when you arrive for your COVID-19 vaccine:

  • You will be required to wear a mask.
  • The staff members supervising the queues will tell you where and if you need to go to another queue.
  • You may be asked to fill out a form noting your name, age and address.
  • You will be asked to present your ID. Any government photo ID stating your first & last name and date of birth will suffice (ie: driver’s license, voters card, passport, etc)
  • You will be asked which arm you'd prefer to have the injection in. Many people choose the hand that they do not write with.

 

The experience for your second and third doses will be similar to the first. You will be asked for your vaccination card with information on your previous dose(s). You may also be asked if you experienced any side effects from the last dose. 

 

After The Vaccination

You will be asked to sit in an observation area for ten to fifteen minutes afterwards. This is intended to make sure you are okay, and after ten to fifteen minutes you are free to go. You do not need to wait for somebody to tell you to go.

Currently, the COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Grand Cayman has moved to 131 Maclendon Drive next to DHL and behind Foster's Airport. The Sister Islands Clinic is located at the Aston Rutty Centre. 

Visit www.hsa.ky for the latest vaccine schedule.

You can receive vaccines Monday to Saturday excluding bank holidays. Extended hours have been implemented to accommodate persons' work schedules.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses separated by an interval of 21 days for full protection. You will get full protection from this vaccine usually 1–2 weeks after getting your second dose. When you get the vaccine, you will be advised when you need to come back for your second dose.

Protection Against COVID-19

The COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and your loved ones against COVID-19. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been found to be very effective in the protection against COVID-19 in adults over 16 years old. It is 95.3% effective.  The majority of the approved COVID-19 vaccines available have been shown to be highly effective against the virus.

The Israeli Ministry of Health recently confirmed that protection is even stronger two weeks after the second vaccine dose– vaccine effectiveness was at least 97% in preventing symptomatic disease, severe/critical disease and death.

To put this into perspective, the polio vaccine (IPV) is 90% effective. Thanks to that vaccine, polio was eradicated in almost all countries in the world in 2020. 

Getting vaccinated not only protects you but also reduces ‘COVID anxiety’. On top of this, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine also greatly reduces the chances that you can carry the virus at all.

 

Protection Against Variants Of COVID-19

Variants of Concern have been shown to be more infectious and have higher death rates than the original virus; in Brazil, over half the intensive care admissions have been in people under the age of 40.
 
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been shown to be effective against common variants of COVID-19 including the South African, Brazilian (P1) and UK variants. Plasma taken from people who have been vaccinated has been shown to ‘neutralise’ these mutations.  Even if infection is not prevented, the vaccine does protect against serious illness and death from Variants of Concern.

 

A Safer Way To Build Community Immunity

COVID-19 can have serious and life-threatening complications for anyone. There is no real way of knowing how COVID-19 will affect you or your loved ones before you get it. The vaccine helps us build immunity in our population without risking lives.

Traditionally, the way some epidemics end is through something called herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a large part of the population is immune to a virus or disease. Herd immunity causes a barrier for the virus to jump from host to host, thereby reducing and stopping spread across the group or infect those who are not immune.

Vaccines are a safe and effective way to build immunity and protect those who cannot currently have the vaccine but who are vulnerable to the virus. 

 

Stop The Pandemic

The goal is to stop the global spread of COVID-19 -- Vaccines help us to halt the pandemic in its tracks.

Because COVID-19 is a coronavirus where immunity from infection does not tend to last, even if you have had it before you can always get it again. This is why it is so important to get the vaccine even if you have already had COVID-19 in the past.

A vaccine is a great way of very rapidly immunizing the globe, with the hopes of stopping the virus before our population loses immunity.

Viruses need living bodies to survive -- they hijack our cells to grow. If we can stop a virus from being able to find a new person to infect, by vaccinating them, then we can very quickly contain the spread. 

 

Reduce The Health, Social And Economic Impacts Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Reaching our vaccination target of 80% of the population helps to reduce the chances of outbreaks and the need for preventative measures such as border closures, mask, distancing and travel restrictions.

Vaccinations will help us to reach a new ‘normal’ and at the same time save lives and livelihoods.

 

Protect Cayman

The COVID-19 vaccine is a way that you can protect the community, and especially your loved ones, in the Cayman Islands. We are blessed with a variety of residents in Cayman, many of whom are vulnerable, high-risk or elderly. 

In simple terms, the vaccine contains the messenger RiboNucleic Acid (the mRNA), which is the active ingredient, along with lipids (fatty substances) that protect the mRNA; salts that help to balance the acidity in your body, and sugar (sucrose), which helps the molecules maintain their shape during freezing. This is the active substance.

Here is the technical list of ingredients:

The COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 contains:

  • the active substance, which is BNT162b2 RNA.

Each dose is 0.3 mL with 30 micrograms mRNA.

  • the vaccine contains polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG) as part of ALC-0159

The other ingredients are:

  • ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
  • ALC-0159 = 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
  • 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
  • cholesterol
  • potassium chloride
  • potassium dihydrogen phosphate
  • sodium chloride
  • disodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
  • sucrose

The vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives, mercury or antibiotics.

The types of vaccines that currently exist rely on the same basic principle: to stimulate our immune system to responding to a real viral threat by mimicking a natural infection without actually casing you to be sick.
 
There are four main types of vaccines:
  • inactivated virus (like for polio or rabies or influenza);
  • protein based (e.g. for hepatitis B or whooping cough);
  • viral vector (which includes the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 and is a similar technology to that for smallpox and Ebola);
  • and the mRNA type. mRNA stands for ‘messenger RiboNucleic Acid’. The mRNA type of vaccine transports the genetic sequence for the spike protein (from the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus) into our own cells. Our cells then produce the spike proteins which induce an immune response. This does not cause COVID-19 but means that if the body is exposed to the virus, the immune system would recognise and attack the virus.
The mRNA type of vaccine has so far been produced for COVID-19 disease by two different companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

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.

With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, a number of people have got some local pain around the injection site. The most common other events were headache, muscle aches and pain, chills, , a raised temperature and possible diarrhoea. More people experience side effects after the second dose than after the first dose but for those who experience side effects, these usually begin soon after receiving a vaccine and may last 1-2 days

With the AstraZeneca vaccine, mild pain and tenderness were common. Short lived symptoms of headache and tiredness, muscle aches, feeling generally unwell, a raised temperature and chills, and joint pain and nausea were also experienced.

Serious adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination are uncommon but may occur. These include:

  • Anaphylaxis
    • Approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the USA)
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), or blood clots with low platelets, after Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J) and AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccination.
    • As of Sept 15, 2021, there has been 47 confirmed reports out of 14.7 million doses given in the USA with J&J and in the UK, as of June 28, 2021, around 1 case has been reported for every 50,000 first doses of AZ in persons under 50 years of age
  • Reports of myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly in young males, after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination such as (Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna).
    • As of Sept 15, 2021, there has been 890 confirmed reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. Most patients with myocarditis or pericarditis who received care responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly.

The following vaccines have been approved by the Chief Medical Officer:

  • Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) (single dose)
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (two doses)
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (two doses)
    1. European Version
    2. SK Bio Version
    3. Serum Institute of India version ‘Covishield’
  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (two doses)
  • Sinopharm (two doses)
  • Sinovac (two doses)
  • Novovax
  • Covovax
  • Covishield (Astrazeneca/India)
  • Covaxin
  • Mixed doses of approved vaccines taken at least eight weeks apart
 

If a person produces a false vaccination document they will be liable, on conviction, to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for two years.

There is no known risk associated with giving inactivated, recombinant viral or bacterial vaccines or toxoids during pregnancy or whilst breast-feeding (Kroger et al., 2013). Since inactivated vaccines cannot replicate, they cannot cause infection in either the mother or the fetus. Although AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine contains a live adenovirus vector, this virus is not replicating so will not cause infection in the mother or the fetus. As with most pharmaceutical products, large clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy have not been carried out.

Developmental and reproductivity testing of the Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines in animals have not raised any concerns. Adenovirus vectors, similar to those used in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, have been widely used to vaccinate women against Ebola without raising any concern; formal trials of these vaccines in pregnancy are due to proceed.

Although clinical trials on the use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy are not advanced, the available data do not indicate any harm to pregnancy. JCVI has therefore advised that women who are pregnant should be offered vaccination at the same time as non-pregnant women, based on their age and clinical risk group.

There is now extensive post-marketing experience of the use of the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in the USA with no safety signals so far. These vaccines are therefore the preferred vaccines to offer to pregnant women.

Clinicians should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with the woman, who should be told about the limited evidence of safety for the vaccine in pregnancy.

Yes. Individuals who are immunosuppressed or have, for example, HIV infection (regardless of CD4 count) should be given COVID-19 vaccine.

Booster Programme

A booster is a vaccine shot meant to increase levels of the response from our immune system after coverage from previous vaccination has started to wane.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been key in minimising the impact of the virus in the Cayman Islands. While the full course of the available vaccine (2 doses each for Pfizer BioNTech and AstraZeneca) remains effective in safeguarding against the disease, recent data suggests that immunity from vaccination wanes over time, especially with the introduction of new variants.

Boosters offer continued immunity and prevent serious infection that could lead to hospitalisation or death. Vaccine coverage for all eligible persons is important for our community as we aim to return to a sense of normalcy.

Eligible persons can attend the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at 131 MacLendon Drive (next to DHL behind the Foster's Airport) during clinic hours. Community clinics in various districts on Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands are also available.

Homebound persons can request to receive vaccinations at home or at their nearest District Health Centre by emailing flu@hsa.ky.

Eligible persons can attend the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at 131 MacLendon Drive (next to DHL behind the Foster's Airport) during clinic hours. Community clinics in various districts on Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands are also available.

Homebound persons can request to receive vaccinations at home or at their nearest District Health Centre by emailing flu@hsa.ky.

You can get a booster if you live, work or study in the Cayman Islands. Your previous vaccination records must be presented.

Current definition of “fully vaccinated” refers to 2 doses (i.e. completion of a full course of vaccine requiring 2 doses ). It is not unlikely that at some point the definition might change to incorporate the booster into it.

No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against newly discovered variants. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among immunocompromised persons after a certain length of time, especially when it comes to be infected.

Boosters can be done either with the same type of vaccine used for the primary vaccination (homologous booster) or using a different type of vaccine (heterologous booster). Antibody levels were higher when a mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine was used as a booster. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine offered by the Public Health department is a mRNA vaccine.

Children's Vaccines

Side Effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term and not all children get them. The very common side effects should only last a day or 2.

Very common side effects in the first day or 2 include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm at the injection site
  • fatigue/drowsiness
  • headache, aches and chills
  • low grade fever

 

What To Do If You Are Concerned About Their Symptoms

These symptoms normally last less than a week. If their symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you can call the Flu Hotline at 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about their vaccination so that they can assess your child properly

You should seek medical advice urgently if your child experiences:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart

 

The COVID-19 vaccine that your child has had has been shown to reduce the chance of them suffering from COVID-19 disease.

Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given worldwide. The vaccine is highly effective in children and young people.

It may take a few weeks for your child’s body to build up immunity from the vaccine .some children may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

The vaccine cannot give your child COVID-19 infection and it will reduce their chance of becoming ill.

It is still important to continue to follow current national guidance to protect your child against infection i.e hand hygiene, wearing masks.

Your child can continue going to school after they have had the vaccine.

After your child’s vaccination, you should be given a record card. If your child is considered at-risk or immunocompromised, they will be eligible to receive their second dose in eight weeks. Children without conditions that put them at risk can receive their second dose after 12 weeks.

If your child is unwell, it is better to wait until they have recovered to have their vaccine.

Your child should not attend a vaccine appointment if they are self-isolating or waiting for a COVID-19 test. Ideally you should wait 12 weeks after your child has had a positive COVID-19 test or at least 4 weeks if your child is at higher risk.

Your child cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine.

To vaccinate a child, an appointment is required along with a completed consent form.

To make an appointment, please contact the Public Health Clinic (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 3pm) at 926-8152 or 926-8733 (Grand Cayman) or 244-7643 (Sister Islands). 

To view the current vaccination schedule, please click here.

More Questions?

Please contact the Flu Hotline at 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077.

 

On 2nd December 2020, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination. As a UK Overseas Territory (UKOT), the Cayman Islands received the first batch of these vaccines on 5th January 2021 and commenced the COVID-19 National Vaccination programme shortly thereafter.