Island aims for 40,000 jabs by the end of March

MORE THAN 40,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines are due to arrive in Guernsey over the next few months, and Public Health has set an ambitious target of administering all of them by the end of March.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29093324)
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29093324)

The community vaccination centre at Beau Sejour will open in just over two weeks’ time and the goal there is to vaccinate up to 3,000 people a day.

There are currently just under 6,000 vaccine doses in the island, and the programme so far is said to have gone ‘without a hitch’.

It was revealed at yesterday’s live press conference that the authorities had approved the new Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the Bailiwick, and already there were 500 of these doses in the island.

From Monday, GPs will be going into care homes to vaccinate care home residents, along with the care home staff who have not yet been vaccinated.

Then from Thursday letters will begin going out to the island’s over-80s inviting them to book an appointment for a vaccine at their GP surgeries.

There are 3,170 people in the over-80s group, and they are asked to remain patient and wait for the letter.

Also at yesterday’s press conference a ban on non-essential travel into the Bailiwick was announced.

This was in response to the rising case numbers of coronavirus elsewhere, with particular concern about the new mutant variant which is significantly more contagious.

People will still be allowed to travel under specific criteria, such as compassionate reasons, medical appointments, to undertake essential business, and to attend school and university.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache, the chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority, made the position clear.

‘I want to emphasise that anyone who has friends and family planning to visit them here in the Bailiwick, they cannot do so, they must not do so, and although they would normally be welcome, they’re not welcome at the moment for the reasons that are self-evident.

‘Anybody coming here purely for work who is not a critical worker should not come, they are not welcome in the Bailiwick at the moment, we will welcome them as soon as the pandemic has passed.’

The exact vaccination timetable of who gets it has not yet been confirmed because the local authorities are considering when to administer the second shots.

A decision on that is expected next week, and Dr Nicola Brink, the Director of Public Health anticipated that they would eventually focus on getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

‘The dilemma for us is do we give as many people as possible the first vaccine, or do we deliver everyone two doses of vaccine, and what time gap in between the two doses. We will not be going beyond 10 weeks, the reason why we won’t go beyond 10 weeks is that if you then have delivery supply problems, bad weather and so on, and you don’t get vaccines in the island, we need to have that safety buffer.’

Dr Brink also revealed that the new variant of Covid-19 had reached our shores, but had been contained to one family and they had recovered.

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