Vaccine centre will handle 3,000 a day

A TARGET of carrying out 40,000 vaccinations locally before the end of March has been set, but achieving it will depend mainly on whether the UK sticks to its supply promises.

States Chief Executive Paul Whitfield, left, and Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard. 
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29093328)
States Chief Executive Paul Whitfield, left, and Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29093328)

The community vaccination centre at Beau Sejour is due to open on 25 January, and it is anticipated that up to 3,000 vaccines a day will be administered there.

Guernsey’s authorities approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday, and there are now just under 6,000 doses of that vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in the island.

Starting on Monday, care home residents will start to be vaccinated, and GPs will be going into the homes to make it easier for them.

Then, from 14 January, letters will be sent out to the island’s over-80s inviting them to book an appointment at their GP surgery to get vaccinated.

There are 3,170 recorded over-80s in the island, but they will not get the letter all at the same time because frailer people have been prioritised first.

The over-75s will join the vaccination programme from 25 January, but they will be going to Beau Sejour and not the GPs surgeries.

Dr Nicola Brink, the director of Public Health, set out the ambitious programme, but stressed that it was not set in stone.

‘Looking at the vaccine delivery between now and the end of March, and I have to emphasise this is subject to the continued supply coming in, so we’re mapping on what we’ve been told to expect to deliver, is that we should get about 18,500 doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine and just over 22,000 of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

‘So we’re planning by the end of March to try to deliver about 40,000 doses of vaccine.

‘So really it’s a huge effort and I would like to thank everyone and all the volunteers that have come forward to help us deliver what is the largest vaccination programme the Bailiwick has ever seen.’

At this stage it impossible to outline which age groups will get the 40,000 vaccines because the authorities need to decide if they want to delay second doses and focus on getting as many people at least one dose.

Paul Whitfield, the States chief executive, acknowledged the strong desire for people to know whey they are due a vaccine, but urged everyone to be patient.

‘Please do not call the non-clinical healthline or Public Health services to see when you will receive a letter. You will receive one if you have been prioritised.

‘You may wonder why your neighbour or best friend hasn’t had one. Please have faith, we are using information, as said by Dr Brink, from our primary care colleagues who know you, know how old you are, and know if you meet one of the priority groups.’

The approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine is a game changer in particular for Alderney and Sark because it is much easier to store and transport. Their programmes were said to be starting ‘imminently’ with Alderney getting 300 doses, and Sark 75 doses.

The States has committed itself to publishing the vaccination figures weekly so islanders can stay up to date with progress.

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