Now island is ready to receive vaccines

GUERNSEY is ready to receive vaccines, after a dummy run was carried out last week.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink with the UK press release about the approval of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28975729)
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink with the UK press release about the approval of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28975729)

It is unclear when vaccines will start to arrive in the island, but a States of Guernsey spokesperson said that a dummy run has now taken place. ‘This was to check the ordering and delivery process and associated timescales,’ they said.

‘No actual vaccine was used to check the process.

‘We are ready to receive and administer whichever vaccine is designated by the Committee for Health & Social Care for use in the Bailiwick.’

It is unclear how the vaccine will travel to the island or when the first doses will arrive.

A States of Guernsey fortnightly press conference is expected on Friday, but is not yet confirmed.

A Government of Jersey briefing last night said that it would administer its first batch of the vaccine on Monday.

The news comes as the UK confirmed it will begin a mass vaccination programme today, with older people, health workers and carers and expected to get the first doses. In Guernsey, there are currently three active cases of Covid-19, after one person recovered. These have come from inbound travellers and not the community.

Hundreds of people are currently in quarantine, after travelling into the island ahead of Christmas.

Aurigny offered extra flights from regional airports last week, and 879 people travelled into the Bailiwick between Friday and Sunday. Arrivals were offered the chance to have a test on arrival. However, the tests are not mandatory.

Public Health confirmed that 710 people – 81% of the travellers – opted for the test when they arrived at the airport or harbour, all of which came back negative.

Of the 169 who did not take a day one test, some were children under 12, while some others were unable to take a test.

Unless they have an exemption, all arrivals into the island must quarantine for 14 days, even if they have a negative test result on arrival.

Travel Tracker programme director Richard Evans said the teams processing travellers had worked very hard over the weekend to cope with the spike in travellers coming home for the holidays.

He added that people must self-isolate.

‘We know that this is challenging and we thank them to sticking to the rules and working with us to keep the Bailiwick safe this winter,’ he said.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said the pathology laboratory team processed 839 Covid-19 samples over the weekend alongside all of their other diagnostic work, and some swabs from late on Sunday were still being processed.

‘The fact that we have not identified any positive results from these 839 tests tells me that travellers from the UK have been complying with the Covid-19 restrictions where they were living, which is excellent news for the Bailiwick,’ she said.

‘Once again, I would like to thank returning students for their continued cooperation – this is really appreciated.

‘We now need those returning travellers to respect the self-isolation requirements imposed on them for 14 days. I know it is difficult, but it is necessary to ensure we can continue to work and socialise in our Bailiwick bubble.’

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