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COVID-19 vaccination priority schedule agreed for under 50s

16 March 2021

The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme will offer vaccinations to Islanders under 50 years old, in age order, following the advice of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation, agreement with the Scientific Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) and approval from Competent Authority Ministers. 

This second part of the programme, known as Phase 2, will aim to protect the whole adult population from COVID-19, offering vaccinations to those 49 and under in stages based on age.

The Vaccination Panel, that comprises of medical and scientific experts who make decisions on vaccinations specific to Jersey, has recommended that the HM Prison La Moye is included in Phase 2 of the roll-out. Due to HM La Moye being an institution, and the need to ensure any potential outbreak is minimised, all staff and all inmates will receive their COVID-19 vaccine once all over 50s have received their first dose.

The Phase 2 vaccination programme for first doses will be rolled out in the following order- subject to vaccine availability and other factors:

• All those aged 40-49 years – first dose: Early April
• All those aged 30-39 years – first dose: Early May
• All those aged 18-29 years – first dose: Late May

Head of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Becky Sherrington said: “Since the beginning, the vaccination programme has been implemented based on a phased priority approach. Phase 1 prioritised vaccinations to those most at risk from mortality from COVID-19, and to protect those in health and social care.

“An age-based delivery model will facilitate rapid vaccine deployment to maximise public health benefit. There is good evidence that age remains the greatest risk with COVID-19, even in those under 50 years of age, so Phase 2 will vaccinate the under 50-year olds by decreasing age.

“Before we begin vaccination of Islanders under 50, I’d encourage all Islanders who are 50+ who are yet to receive their vaccine to book an appointment. As we open appointments to more Islanders and continue with second doses, the demand for the vaccine is likely to be much greater.

“Our aim is to protect all Islanders over the age of 18, and depending on supply, and we have capacity and resources to offer both vaccinations to these Islanders by September. While offering first doses of the vaccine to those under 50, we will continue vaccinating those from Phase 1, with their second dose. This means there will be times where we are intermittently switching between delivering first and second doses. The mass vaccination centre at Fort Regent will remain in place throughout this next Phase.”

The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme began roll out to priority groups on 13 December 2020. As at Wednesday 10 March more than 42,000 doses have been administered to the most vulnerable in the community. COVID-19 vaccination statistics are now updated every Monday for the previous Wednesday and every Thursday for the previous Sunday.

Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat said: “The JCVI have strongly recommended prioritising the COVID vaccine by decreasing age to ensure that those most at risk are vaccinated first. Age remains the main factor in determining risk, aside from other medical conditions.

“In order to achieve immunity from this virus, and to help protect against variants, we must encourage Islanders to take up the vaccine offer as soon as they are eligible. Immunity will not only help protect those who receive the vaccine, but also anyone they come into contact with, since there is more and more evidence that vaccination has a significant impact on viral transmission. As with other vaccines - such as influenza- even when vaccination doesn’t prevent infection entirely it will reduce severity of infection and hospitalisation rates.

Jersey will continue receiving COVID-19 vaccine supply from the UK. The two vaccines currently being used are Pfizer and AstraZeneca (Oxford) which have been approved for use for adults over 18 by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Following full vaccination with a second dose of either vaccine after 2-3 weeks, protection provided is around 90% 

Dr Muscat continued: “It’s important those who might not feel they are at particular risk from COVID, receive a vaccine as the short- and long-term protection is considerable. As we continue to learn more about the impact of COVID on the body, such as Long COVID and its effect on young people, vaccination remains the best way to prevent serious or long-lasting illness developing.

“As always during pregnancy, special care needs to be taken in relation to medication and vaccines. While there is no harm from inactivated vaccines as a whole in pregnancy, given the lack of clinical trials, pregnant women are advised to avoid vaccination against COVID unless they are at particular risk, in which case they should discuss the matter with their health care provider. Women can be vaccinated after delivery of their baby as the vaccine is deemed safe during breastfeeding. It is also safe for those planning a pregnancy and there is absolutely no evidence that any of the vaccines can affect fertility in men or women.”

Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “I am thrilled with the progress the team is making with the vaccination programme, and we are adopting the right approach for Jersey by following the JCVI’s recommendations to vaccinate Islanders who are most vulnerable and most at-risk of COVID-19.”

Further details on when and how each group will be able to book their vaccine appointment will be announced through the media and Government social media channels.

When appointments become available, Islanders will be able to book online or by calling the Coronavirus helpline.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Islanders are advised to speak to their GP for more information regarding the vaccine and to discuss specific circumstances. 

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