Residents urged to get COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccination works.

That's the opinion of Health City Cayman Islands founder Dr. Devi Shetty, who has seen the vaccine's efficacy first-hand in India.

India has experienced a massive spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths since mid-April, but not everyone is being affected seriously by the virus.

“To date, my colleagues and I have not seen a single COVID patient in the critical care unit who has had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning ... vaccinations work," Dr. Shetty said.

Dr. Shetty said that in his experience, the first wave of COVID-19 primarily affected the elderly and infirm, but the recent variants of the virus are affecting young people as well.

“The new variants do not discriminate," he said. "Today, it is the young, fit, athletic people who are dying of COVID."

Dr. Shetty urged Cayman Islands residents not to delay in getting the vaccination.

"The lockdown and closed borders of the Cayman Islands have protected the country’s population to date," he said. "But the borders cannot remain closed forever, and then, the virus will find you."

Dart's efforts

Dart has joined the efforts of the country’s national vaccination drive by working with the Health Services Authority to set up a clinic in Camana Bay to administer doses of the vaccine before the country’s supply reaches its expiration date on 30 June.

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine that is available in the Cayman Islands is administered in two doses a minimum of three weeks apart. The first dose of the vaccine will need to be administered by 9 June in order for people to receive both doses by 30 June.

Dart is also encouraging employees to get vaccinated.

In a video circulated internally in the company, some of Dart’s employees shared their reasons for getting the vaccination.

One of them, Dart's Senior Vice President Kenneth Hydes, said he took the vaccine to support his many friends and colleagues who work in the hospitality industry and have had their jobs negatively impacted by the border closure.

“A lot of them are relying on stipends and three-day workweeks just to be able to survive,” he said. “Personally, I wouldn’t be able to look them in the face if I weren't a part of the vaccination programme.”

Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator Alanna Warwick-Smith took the first chance she had to get vaccinated.

“My grandparents live in Cayman Brac and I wanted the opportunity to see them safely and to know that we had a future of family gatherings together," she told her colleagues.
In addition, Dart’s retail team organised a vaccine information session on 21 May at Camana Bay Cinema with Cayman Islands Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee.

“Since the vaccine drive was launched, our team has been proactively encouraging our retail-based employees to get vaccinated,” said Matthew Bishop, Dart’s executive vice president with responsibility for retail businesses. “Once we identified that there was hesitancy from some of our people who potentially didn’t understand its benefits and the ramifications of not taking it, we saw it necessary to bring in an expert who could address their concerns directly.”

Should the coronavirus spread among unvaccinated residents because the vaccination rates are not of a sufficient level when the country's borders reopen, Dr. Shetty warned of the possible impact on the Cayman Islands.

“There will not be enough ICU beds, oxygen or life-saving medicine, because it will not be a few people that contract COVID, it will be hundreds of people landing at the hospital at the same time," he said. "I have seen it all here in India and I do not want to see it again. I do not want to see it happen in the Cayman Islands."

Health City recently opened a clinic in Camana Bay and plans to open a new US$100 million, 70,000-square foot hospital just south of Cayman International School in 2022.

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This article appears in print in the June 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Ariel Thompson.

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