WP vaccine mandate is adopted without PPM vote
(CNS): The government has passed the necessary bills to make vaccination compulsory for work permit holders without the support of members of the PPM opposition. The vote fell directly on political lines, with all PACT members supporting the additional requirement for foreign workers and the opposition voting against, following new PPM skepticism about the effectiveness of vaccines.
Speaking on the bills in Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Wayne Panton said the mandate was an attempt to “push any button we can find and pull any levers we can find” in the aim to vaccinate as many people as possible in the Cayman Islands. we can live safely with the coronavirus in the community.
“We are sure that vaccinations reduce the number of sick people and reduce the number of deaths,” he said, noting that the Caymans have not experienced a significant number of deaths from this virus like others. , but if that happened, it would weigh heavily because it is a small country, so if people died, it wouldn’t be about managing statistics because everyone would know about them.
“While there is a lot of criticism of pushing the vaccinations… I don’t think we should apologize for trying to get the vaccinations as high as possible,” he said.
Panton said he was concerned the country would become complacent, given our circumstances, and that is how the virus returned to the community. But he didn’t want people to be complacent about the protection offered by the vaccine.
He said the source of the re-emergence of the virus has not been confirmed but it was most likely a quarantine violation, where a member of the community visited someone in isolation. and took the virus out with it. His arrival, however, revealed that the country was not completely ready and that the hiatus gave the government time to fill in the gaps, he said.
Panton criticized the opposition for their recent adoption of a mixed message regarding the vaccine. He warned that the misinformation that he was experimental, which the opposition had suggested, was dangerous and wrong. He accused the PPM of sowing fear and adding to false narratives. He said taking vitamins was no more important than getting the vaccine and the government would continue to maximize efforts to get everyone vaccinated for the simple reason that it keeps people from dying.
The Prime Minister stressed that the requirement for foreign workers was not about “them and us” or about licensees, and promoting the idea that this was divisive was wrong. “We are doing it for the good of this country,” he said, adding that this would allow open borders.
Once the quarantine is lifted when Cayman reopens, the country will shift from quarantine to vaccine dependency for safety, as there will be more COVID across borders.
Panton said testing will play a role as well, with much more surveillance testing with the rollout of lateral flow testing. He said these rapid tests will help solve the problem of too many people being quarantined, and ultimately it won’t be necessary to isolate anyone who is negative because they can test regularly. Panton said the tests are expected to be approved this week and the government will start importing them and noted that the new testing regime will help keep schools running safely.
But Panton said adjustments will need to be made as we deal with COVID in the community and the vaccine’s mandate is part of the process of living with the virus safely. He said the government believes that a truly maximum vaccination rate will prevent anyone from getting seriously ill.
“We are living with COVID now and we are seeing the consequences and we are learning from it,” he said. “We are doing it and we will do it safely. He explained the balance of reopening the country while minimizing hospital admissions, and the “moonshine” was zero new deaths.
See Panton’s address in Parliament on CIGTV below (which will start at his address in Part 1 and continue at the start of Part 2):