27 November 2020
Jersey has developed a comprehensive plan for vaccinating the most at-risk Islanders against contracting COVID-19. Although no firm date has been agreed for delivery of the first shipment of vaccines, plans have been prepared in advance to be ready for immediate implementation when the first vaccines arrive, which could be in small batches, before the new year.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in successive small quantities, so the most at-risk Islanders will be vaccinated with the first delivery. They will then be followed by different groups, in keeping with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The Deputy Medical Officer of Heath, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: “Vaccines save lives. They are one of the most effective public health interventions in the world and are hugely important in protecting us against infection.
“A safe and effective COVID vaccine is by far the best way to protect those at particular risk from this virus and is the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began. It is a complete game-changer.
“We stand a much better chance of returning to some normality by Easter if Islanders continue to take care throughout the winter, adhere to Public Health guidance, and get the vaccine when it is offered to you.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “We have been working closely with the UK Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England for the delivery of a safe COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. We are hoping some vaccines will arrive before the end of the year and we will be ready for that if it happens.
“We will only be using the vaccine after it has passed the clinical trials and is ready to deployed. We will prioritise the at-risk Islanders, so residents of Nursing and Residential Homes and their staff will be vaccinated first. We would strongly encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated, as this is how we can start returning to normal life.”
The Head of Policy for Covid Vaccine Delivery, Becky Sherrington, said: “We don’t yet have a definitive date for vaccine delivery, but we must be ready to start deploying the vaccine as soon as it arrives, which could be by the end of December.
“We are getting all our preparation work done now, so we’re ready before the end of the year. Age is the biggest risk factor for COVID-19 so we are basing our priority groups on this.”
The first people to receive the vaccine (Tier 1) will be the approximately 1,000 residents of nursing and residential homes. A team of vaccinators will visit all care homes to offer the vaccination to all residents.
The next people to be vaccinated (Tier 1b) will be care home and home care staff. They will be vaccinated at a mass vaccine centre, which will be established at the Queen’s Hall in Fort Regent.
Fort Regent is being used because it is large enough to enable physical distancing for large groups of people, and there is adequate parking (including disabled parking) available.
The next group of people to be vaccinated will be Islanders aged 80+ (Tier 2a) followed by nearly 5,000 front line Health and Community Services staff (Tier 2b) and other Health and Community Services staff, GPs and pharmacists (Tier 2c).
Next will be Islanders aged 75-79 (Tier 3a) age groups 70-74 and 3,000 high risk Islanders (Tier 3b) followed by 65-79-year olds (Tier 3d). Younger people aged 50-64 (Tier 4) will be next, followed by the remainder of the population (Tier 5). All these groups will be vaccinated at Fort Regent.
Some healthcare staff will be vaccinated by their colleagues as part of a peer-to-peer vaccination scheme. This will help with logistics and enable the prompt delivery of vaccines to the staff whose roles put them at a high risk of catching and spreading the virus.