27 November 2020
The Government of Jersey is ready to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
We have been planning this together with the NHS and independent experts - the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation - for several months.
This is to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine can be deployed safely and effectively in Jersey - and in the correct priority order for our population.
The plan has been reviewed by the Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, and we’ll be basing our priority groups on the advice we’ve received.
Therefore, as soon as a vaccine is approved for use it, and available in Jersey, it will be given to Islanders in the following order:
- care home residents and staff
- over 80 year olds and front line health and social workers
- then other health and social workers
- then 75-79 year olds
- followed by 70-74 year olds
- then High Risk Islanders
- followed by 65-69 year olds
- And finally, the rest of the population in order of age to 50 years
This means residents of nursing and residential homes – and their staff – will be vaccinated first. To do this, a team of vaccinators will visit all care homes as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
For all other groups, a COVID-19 Vaccination Centre will be established at the Queen’s Hall in Fort Regent, as the Chief Minister has set out.
Fort Regent is being used because it is large enough to enable appropriate physical distancing and there is adequate parking available, including disabled parking. We will not be using the Nightingale Ward because it is not built for that purpose and may require to be used during the vaccine programme in order to support the General Hospital.
We know that the vaccines against COVID-19 will not be delivered all at once, or in large quantities in all cases – and their storage characteristics may differ.
We will use the vaccines that are authorised - in the quantities they become available - according to expert advice. And we will be using them as soon as we get them.
We strongly recommend the vaccination, but it will not be mandatory. The more people who receive it, the better protected we will be as an Island community.
However, the full impact of the vaccines on infection rates will not become clear until a large number of people have been vaccinated.
This means that cases may remain high or increase for a while, but once the vaccine begins to be rolled out, the health impacts of those positive cases will be much lower.
Until then, we must all be vigilant in observing the important public health guidance to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe.
Only by doing this can we plan a return to normal life within a few months.