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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Importance of credible COVID-19 reporting

28 April 2022

The Government of Jersey is aware of a website that is claiming to report side effects from COVID-19 medicines, vaccines and medical devices on behalf of the Channel Islands. The Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, is urging Islanders to continue reporting any side effects to the official Yellow Card scheme.

Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, has commented:

"Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and indeed with all medicines and vaccinations before the COVID-19 vaccine, Jersey and the rest of the Channel Islands have utilised the Yellow Card scheme to ensure any side effects are credibly reported and analysed.

"The Yellow Card scheme has been run by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) since 1964. The scheme collects and monitors suspected safety concerns regarding healthcare products across the United Kingdom. Medical professionals, as well as the general public, have been reporting into the scheme for generations.

"It remains vital that Islanders continue to report any side effects through the official Yellow Card scheme, which has been promoted to Islanders since the start of our Vaccination Programme. Our vaccination team and medical professionals in Jersey will continue to adhere to the official lines of Yellow Card reporting.

"Reporting side effects through the official Yellow Card channels on a national scale is vital to have scientifically valid data sets. Additionally, expert statisticians and scientists at the MHRA Yellow Card system are qualified and experienced at analysing COVID-19 vaccination data, and have many, years of experience with drugs and vaccine analysis.

"Because of this, the Yellow Card scheme is a credible and reliable reporting system which accurately detects whether there's any association to side effects from medicines or vaccines. This is a vital system to ensure the medicines and vaccines we use are safe.

"The Yellow Card scheme receives between two and five reports of side effects (yellow cards) for every thousand vaccines administered to adults. For children this is even less, at approximately one yellow card per thousand vaccines administered. This means in Jersey, there would only be a few hundred reports for the 230 thousand COVID-19 vaccine doses that we have administered to date. This small number of reports would not be a sufficiently large enough data set to allow for meaningful analysis when compared to the UK who have administered some 120 million vaccine doses.

Director of Public Health, Professor Peter Bradley, added:

"In Jersey, our Public Health Intelligence team do undertake observations and surveillance for a number of local COVID related reports, including our COVID-19 rates and COVID related hospitalisations. However, we have not set up a Yellow Card scheme locally or within the Channel Islands as this would not lead to accurate or representative data due to our very small numbers. It is important that Islanders are not misled by unanalysed data or data based on such small figures.

"Jersey's vaccination programme follows the advice and recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the UK's four Chief Medical Officers. The Spring Booster has been recommended to older and vulnerable Islanders following the evidence that the risks associated to contracting COVID-19 outweigh the risk of the vaccination. These Islanders in particular are far more likely to become very unwell because of COVID-19 compared to the risks of any side effects from the vaccine.

"In line with the other four nations of the UK, Jersey will continue to use the Yellow Card reporting scheme in all our undertakings because it is the only credible and reliable system we have to make safe decisions about vaccines and medicines. I urge all Islanders to do the same should they need to individually report vaccine or medicine related side effects."

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