Guernsey Press

Alderney approves then uses Oxford vaccine

THE fight against Covid-19 in the Bailiwick was stepped up yesterday with the roll out of the ‘game-changing’ Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in Alderney.

Last updated
Having been approved for use at an emergency meeting of the States of Alderney yesterday morning, the team at the Island Medical Centre began preparations at once to vaccinate Connaught Care Homes residents with the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine. Medical director Dr Sally Simmons, left, Dr Simon Hamilton and practice nurse Caroline Yorke, were pleased to be able to use the vaccine. (Picture by David Nash)

Care home residents and staff were the first to be vaccinated in the island using that vaccine after an emergency meeting of its States yesterday morning saw a change in law to allow it.

Alderney’s frontline medical and care home staff began receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in mid-December in Guernsey.

But to begin using the more recently approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, batches of which arrived at the weekend, the States had to move its Wednesday meeting forward to agree the law change.

Politicians needed to enact The European Communities (Corona Vaccine) Ordinance 2020, so those administering the vaccine were protected from prosecution.

The first full Alderney States meeting of 2021 was to change the law on liability for vaccinations of the Covid-19 vaccine. (Picture by David Nash)

Dr Sally Simmons, clinical director of the Island Medical Centre, welcomed the decision to change the law which gave herself, her staff and anyone involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme immunity from individual liability.

It meant she was able to mobilise immediately her group to begin vaccinations at the adjacent Connaught Care Home.

Alderney has not had any cases of Covid-19.

The arrival of the Oxford vaccine, which is more easily stored and transported, has ensured that residents of the care home do not have to be moved to receive the vaccine, unlike the Pfizer vaccine where residents had to travel to Guernsey as it had to be stored at minus 70C.

Regulators in the UK approved the Oxford vaccine’s use at the end of last year.

Guernsey officials approved it on Wednesday, announcing the decision on Friday.

The priority recipients of both vaccines in Alderney are hospital, Connaught Care Home, ambulance, pharmacy, Island Medical Centre and Border Agency staff.

There are now nine known active cases of Covid-19 in the Bailiwick, an increase of one case from the weekend.

The new case was a contact of a current case, both of which were inbound passengers self-isolating together.

Currently there is still no evidence of community seeding, and none of the patients with Covid-19 are in hospital.

Another case was identified in a critical worker who tested positive on day three.

Critical workers all have individualised restrictions and testing regimes when they come to work in the island.

Jersey now has 302 active cases and has registered 27 deaths in the second wave, two in the past day. More than 3,100 doses of vaccine have been administered there so far.

In England, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said that the next few weeks will be the worst of the pandemic as he urged everyone to minimise meeting other people.

Across the country, one in 50 people have the virus.