In response to the news of the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, CMO, Dr John Lee, said:
“It is amazing news that yet another vaccine has been approved for our fight against SARS-CoV-2, with the announcement from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency today.
This new vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, which works in a different way than the previously approved PfizerBioNTech and Moderna messenger RNA (or mRNA) vaccines. A viral vector vaccine uses another non-replicating virus to deliver SARS-CoV-2 genes, in the form of DNA, into human cells where viral proteins are produced to induce protective immune responses.
The AstraZeneca is stored at normal fridge temperatures (2 – 8’C) which means it will be much easier to store and transport to the more remote parts of the world.
As a really important part of the fight against COVID-19 disease, this vaccine, which was developed by both Oxford University and the drug company AstraZeneca, will be provided at cost to developing nations in perpetuity. This condition was insisted upon by Oxford University.
At somewhere around US$3-4, this price makes it far more affordable than the mRNA vaccines which cost around ten times this amount. This will mean that better access to all people of the world, and therefore a better chance of us keeping the threat of COVID-19 at bay.
For the Cayman Islands, the greater the availability of vaccines, means the quicker we will be able to get our most vulnerable protected by vaccination and move onto a surer footing in reopening our borders.
All of us are also watching carefully the development of new strains of this coronavirus, especially those that are more infectious. Cayman Islands protocols are very stringent in both our length of quarantine and the monitoring systems we employ for those in quarantine.
Cayman does not currently have gene sequencing technology although we are looking into this which will have widespread applications not only in monitoring infectious disease outbreaks (including Covid-19, dengue and Zika), but also in the field of cancer management.”