Island likely to speed up vaccination programme

GUERNSEY’S authorities look likely to follow the UK and speed up the vaccination programme by giving as many people as possible a first vaccine dose and hold back on the second dose, but it will not happen immediately.

Deputy Al Brouard, the president of Health & Social Care, at Friday’s Coronavirus Press Conference. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29093318)
Deputy Al Brouard, the president of Health & Social Care, at Friday’s Coronavirus Press Conference. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29093318)

The island’s top priority groups – which include care home residents, healthcare staff, and the over-80s – will still receive their second jab after three weeks or one month, depending on which vaccine they get.

Any change, which has not yet been formally decided, would affect priority group three and onwards.

Priority group three are people aged over 75.

Both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines have double dose requirements and the UK has extended the time period between receiving the first and second dose to 12 weeks.

Dr Nicola Brink, the director of Public Health, said that she would not want a time gap longer than 10 weeks.

‘I think certainly from category three we’ll look at a longer period of time between the first dose and the second dose, we’re looking at all of that evidence together.

‘With the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine the World Health Organisation has said six weeks, that’s based on the vaccine trial data for Pfizer/BioNtech where they’ve looked at a time point of 45 days.

‘So I think that doing a longer period of time between the first and the second dose of vaccines certainly when you get to category three and beyond is entirely reasonable.

‘We need to model out the risk benefit of exactly what the best time point is. I’m nervous about going beyond 10 weeks but that’s for logistical reasons, if we have a couple of stormy seas and the ship doesn’t come in and we don’t get our vaccine supply.

‘That’s my honest appraisal of it at the moment, but almost certainly we’ll be looking at longer time periods between the two doses of vaccine.’

Deputy Al Brouard, the president of Health & Social Care, also gave his take on the double dose delay dilemma.

‘All governments need to use the science available to make the decision that is right for their community and that’s what we’re doing locally.

‘As with everything else in our response we’ll be driven by evidence and the staff have been working hard to assess the data and apply it to the Bailiwick context.’

A decision is expected early this week

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