Care home residents next to be vaccinated

THE 710 residents of Guernsey’s care and residential homes will start receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations from next month in the next phase of the mammoth immunisation programme.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink thanked volunteer staff who worked through the weekend to carry out the first phase of the mass immunisation programme. The next will see the vaccine taken into care homes and given to residents. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29050814)
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink thanked volunteer staff who worked through the weekend to carry out the first phase of the mass immunisation programme. The next will see the vaccine taken into care homes and given to residents. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29050814)

Care home staff were part of the top priority group and 350 of them have already received the first of two doses.

The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart, so the initial group will receive their second dose from 7 January.

Dr Nicola Brink, the Director of Public Health, explained the logistics of the next step.

‘We’ll have a further roll-out on the 11 January where we’ll be looking at immunising care and residential home residents, the remainder of care and residential home staff, and then starting on the other health and care staff and the over-80s, and then we’ll be going down the priority programmes.

‘With regard to the delivery in the care homes, we have gone through a detailed protocol which we’ve discussed with MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] for when we move the vaccine from the Princess Elizabeth Hospital into the care homes.

‘We use what we call vaccine porters, which are particular containers, and we have receptacles that we can put the vaccines in upright and transport it carefully to the care homes.

‘So we will be delivering it to residents within the care homes, that’s our anticipated programme at the moment.

‘We will continue to use the Princess Elizabeth Hospital as our secondary satellite. We managed to get 968 people through there over a period of four days.

‘Once we take the vaccine out of the minus-70 Celsius [container] we have 120 hours to deliver the vaccination programme and to deliver all of those vaccines.’

So far the Bailiwick has received two consignments of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, with each delivery containing 975 doses.

Further consignments have been promised for arrival next month.

At this stage Dr Brink explained that she could not set out an exact schedule for when the over-80s and other age groups will have the vaccine administered.

‘I would love to have a definite programme so that I could do a timetable and plan all the staffing and so on,’ she said.

‘We are to a degree dependent on the vaccine’s delivery from the UK, but also we’re awaiting the news on the Oxford vaccine. There is a degree of uncertainty, so I can’t do a precise timetable at this point in time.’

The team of vaccinators is made up of various health care workers and Dr Brink thanked them publicly for their work, especially over last weekend when they started immunising at 7am and finished at 10pm.

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