February 16, 2022
(GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman) – Health Services Authority Cayman Islands, conducted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic for vulnerable and high-risk children ages 5-11 years on Saturday, at the George Town location.
The appointment-only COVID-19 vaccine clinic opened its doors from 9:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. on Saturday with a steady flow of parents and children. A total of 48 children received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Cayman Islands COVID-19 Situational Report – Epi Week 4 -Jan. 23.- Jan.29. The special clinic was operated by trained Public Health nurses with expertise in the immunization of children, Chief Nursing Officer, Hazel Brown, reported during a CIGTV News Brief aired on Jan.25. All parents who arrived had to meet the criteria of having a vulnerable child within the age group, as well as a letter from the child’s physician to support the administration of the vaccine. Despite the hurdles of the appointment screening, one family calmly anticipated the nurse’s proceedings.
“Who is ready to go first?” said Jan, father of three brave and eager children to be vaccinated.
According to the government’s website, the recently U.K. approved Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was the second introduction of the coronavirus vaccine for children, since the first release of vaccines for children between 12-15 years old in June 2021. “The Cayman Islands Government is committed to ensuring the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-12 years,” added Chief Medical Officer (Interim) Dr. Autilia Newton. However, one school administrator, Lauren Campbell, a special education coordinator, has concerns about the impact of the vaccine on schools, because it is only available to their immunosuppressed students.
According to the latest Cayman Islands COVID-19 Situational Report – a weekly epidemiological report of the Cayman Islands COVID-19 situation – 93 % of the eligible population aged 12 and older have received their first and second dose of the vaccine. To date, no data has been published regarding the percentage of vaccinated children aged 5-11 years.
“I believe that public health has done a very good job at disseminating the necessary information for parents of vulnerable children to find out how to access the vaccine at specialized clinics for children through the media,” Lauren said. “However, they could have also collaborated with schools as well. Parents are concerned about the uncertainty of how safe and reliable it is,” she added. “I do not feel this will affect our level of absenteeism simply because they are only currently offering the vaccine to vulnerable or at-risk children, who make up a very small portion of our school population,”
In a recent government media briefing, Cayman Islands Premier Wayne Panton said that he hopes that the approval for all children ages 5-11, will happen soon.