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7 minute read

Addressing Vaccine Concerns

Cayman Islands Government
Published: January 25 2022
Last Updated: April 12, 2022

Although vaccine development typically takes many years, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

They have also overlapped different stages of the process, such that manufacturing was already well underway whilst the clinical trials were still ongoing; additionally, information was provided to many regulators on a rolling basis, rather than all at once at the end of the trial periods.

 

Will I Get Side Effects With The COVID-19 Vaccine?

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.

 

 

How Can A Safe COVID-19 Vaccine Be Made So Quickly?

 

Although vaccine development typically takes many years, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

They have also overlapped different stages of the process, such that manufacturing was already well underway whilst the clinical trials were still ongoing; additionally, information was provided to many regulators on a rolling basis, rather than all at once at the end of the trial periods.

 

Can Other Vaccines, Including Flu Vaccines, Be Administered At The Same Time As The COVID-19 Vaccines?

COVID- 19 vaccines should not be routinely offered at the same time as other vaccines. Scheduling of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines should ideally be separated by an interval of at least fourteen (14) days. This is done, not so much because of any potential interaction between one vaccine and another; rather it is mainly done so that if there are any adverse events the health professionals can correctly attribute them to one vaccine. Public Health also recommends waiting a month for some vaccines, such as Hepatitis B.

 

Once I Get Vaccinated, Can I Still Get Sick?

It is possible you could still get COVID-19 if you’re exposed to the virus. However, those who have been vaccinated are must less likely to get severely sick or require hospitalisation.


It takes a few weeks to build an immune response after being vaccinated. So it's possible that someone could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and get sick just before or just after vaccination.

 

Can The COVID-19 Virus Still Be Transmitted From Someone Who Has Received The Vaccine But Remains Asymptomatic?

We believe that this might be possible i.e. someone might have had a proper course of the vaccine and be protected themselves, but still might be able to transmit the infection to someone else.  This is because the inside of the body is protected against an infection but the virus might still be able to survive in the upper airways.  However, a person who does not have symptoms is also not coughing and sneezing which very much reduces the possibility of transmission.  The best thing to do to protect the community is to take the vaccine and practice preventative measures such as the wearing of masks and physical distancing

 

How Long Is The Duration Of Protection?

Current research indicates the waning of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease with both the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines from approximately 10 weeks after the second dose. This is most evident in older adults. Pfizer has also reported a decline from 96% to 84% four months after the second dose.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that a booster programme should be prioritised for those who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 infection and that those with a seriously impaired immune response should have a third dose.

Currently, in the Cayman Islands, persons who are considered severely at risk are being called to receive their third dose of the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine. More information on the Booster Programme for adults above the age of 50 or persons clinically compromised is forthcoming.

 

Will We Still Need To Wear Masks And Practice Physical Distancing Once Vaccinated Where These Are Mandated?

According to the latest Control And Management of COVID-19 Regulations, 2021, the wearing of masks and practising of physical distancing is required in all indoor spaces where you cannot or are not socially distancing. Learn more about the rules here. Frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette are essential in stopping the spread.

 

Well What’s The Point Of Taking The Vaccine If I Can Still Get COVID-19 And Still Transmit It?

While it is possible for you to contract COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated, the effects are likely to be much less severe compared to those in unvaccinated persons. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus.

Although vaccine development typically takes many years, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

They have also overlapped different stages of the process, such that manufacturing was already well underway whilst the clinical trials were still ongoing; additionally, information was provided to many regulators on a rolling basis, rather than all at once at the end of the trial periods.

 

 

Will The COVID-19 Vaccine Be Compulsory?

No, it is not compulsory but strongly encouraged.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Get Vaccinated?

The Government is providing the vaccine without a charge through the Public Health department.

 

How Many People In The Cayman Islands Will Need To Get Vaccinated To Protect Everyone?

We are aiming that at least 80% of the total population should be vaccinated. 

 

Will The COVID-19 Vaccine Give Me COVID-19?

No, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not have any viable virus particles so the vaccine cannot cause disease. The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is an mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine which uses the genetic sequence for the spike protein from the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enable it to be transported into the cells of the body. The cells then produce the spike proteins which allow our immune system to produce antibodies and activate T-cells to respond to any future encounter.

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.

 

I Heard That The COVID-19 Vaccines Contain Microchips, Is This True?

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips or any electronics.

 

I Have Had COVID-19 Already, Do I Need To Get Vaccinated?

Yes. Due to the life-threatening complications associated with COVID-19 and known cases of re-infection, you are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you had been sick with COVID-19 and have recovered, leaving at least four weeks from the time of infection.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

 

Will The Vaccine Make Me Infertile?

If you are considering pregnancy soon, accepting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to you is a great way to ensure that you — and your pregnancy — are protected. COVID-19 vaccination is not believed to affect future fertility.

 

Will The Vaccine Protect Me Against The New Variants Such As The Delta Variant?

It is very reassuring that evidence suggests the current vaccines will provide a good degree of protection against serious illness and deaths (for example from the Delta variant with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine giving an estimated 60% protection and Pfizer-BioNTech 88% protection). Plasma taken from people who have been vaccinated has been shown to ‘neutralise’ these mutations.

 

Vaccine Myths And Facts

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