What is a vaccine?

A vaccine is a substance that stimulates your immune system to make antibodies — blood proteins produced in response to a foreign substance — as it would if you were exposed to the actual disease.

After vaccination, you develop immunity to the disease, so you are protected from getting sick if you get infected.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

The vaccines that will be administered in the Cayman Islands through the Public Health Department have all undergone clinical trials and have been approved for use in countries around the world. They are considered safe and effective at protecting against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Will the vaccine alter my DNA?

No it will not.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19?

No – the vaccine does not contain a “live” version of the virus so you cannot get the virus from the vaccine. It does take a period of time after receiving the full dose of the vaccine for your immune system to respond. It is therefore possible that you may develop COVID-19 if you are exposed to the virus before the vaccine has had a chance to take effect. You will get full protection from this vaccine usually 1–2 weeks after getting your second dose.

How many doses of the vaccine do I need?

Some vaccines require two doses at specific intervals apart. It is important that you get the second dose if told to do so. It is also important that you do not mix manufacturers. The Public Health Department will advise you. In the long term it is not known if you will need vaccinations on an annual basis.

How will the COVID-19 be administered?

It is will be injected into a muscle, usually in the upper arm. Once you have had the vaccine you will be observed for 10 – 15 minutes.

Will I need to wear a mask when I get the vaccine?

Yes. It is recommended that people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Reported side effects include pain around the injection site, swelling around the injection site, muscle ache, headache and fatigue. At this time, any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Will the vaccine cause me to test positive on a COVID-19 test?

The vaccines won’t cause you to test positive on PCR viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests.

Can pregnant women get the vaccine?

Currently, women who are pregnant should not get the vaccine. If you find out you are pregnant between doses, you should not get the second dose.

I’ve already had COVID-19 – should I 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.

How much does the vaccine cost?

There is no cost to you at this time.

Is the vaccine compulsory?

No, but persons over the age of 16 are encouraged to discuss with their doctor if they should get the vaccine.

Why can people under the age of 16 not get the vaccine?

There isn’t enough information about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in children.

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are being administered at District Clinics and at the Flu Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital. The link provided will give you the schedule of when you can get your vaccination –

https://hsa.ky/news_events/public-health-launches-covid-19-vaccination-campaign