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Winter vaccination plan revealed

Winter vaccination plan revealed

Friday 17 September 2021

Winter vaccination plan revealed


Covid vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds, booster jabs for over-50s and free flu shots for those considered at risk of serious covid are part of the Government's three-pronged plan for dealing with covid this winter.

The moves were announced in a press conference this afternoon by the Chief Minister, accompanied by the Health Minister, Education Minister, Vaccine Programme Head and the Deputy Medical Officer of Health.

Covid vaccines for children

From 27 September, 12 to 15-year-olds will be able to get a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine - but to do so they will need written parental consent.

In cases where a child wants the vaccine but their parent does not want them to get it, the Government said they would work with healthcare professionals and the parents to ensure informed consent was given on a case-by-case basis.

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Pictured: A special area will be created for children to be vaccinated at the Fort Regent centre.

A specialist area will be set up at the Fort Regent centre for children, with enough space for parents and guardians to accompany children to their appointments.

It follows the decision of the Chief Medical Officers in the UK to allow 12 to 15-year olds to have the vaccine.

Though young people are not at significant clinical risk from covid, the Government says it will be giving the vaccinations to help reduce disruption to education and take into account the mental health and wellbeing of young people who have been isolated away from friends and outside activities.

They will currently only be offered one dose of the vaccine, with officials saying they are awaiting a decision from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether to give a second dose.

A Children's Rights Impact Assessment has also been put together by the Children's Commissioner with officers from the Government.

Deborah McMillan @OCCJersey

Pictured: A Children's Rights Impact Assessment has been put together by the Children's Commissioner on the topic of vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds.

The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: "We know that young people are at lower clinical risk from the effects of covid, but it is still important to protect them as much as possible, and getting vaccinated remains one of the most important ways of keeping safe.

"The decision to offer vaccination for young people has been taken based on all of the factors specific to young people, including their mental and physical health, wellbeing and right to access education. It is a decision that has been taken with the right of children first – young people are not being offered vaccination just to protect others; this is about protecting them.

"I would like to thank the Children's Commissioner who has been very supportive of the vaccination recommendations and has worked on a CRIA with Government officers to ensure the breadth of children's right were considered carefully and met."

Covid boosters

Boosters are also to be offered to over-50s and those most at risk from the virus from next week.

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Pictured: Booster are being offered to vulnerable adults.

It comes as early data from Public Health England suggests that protection provided by vaccines decreases gradually over time, with the JCVI and Chief Medical Officers recommending maintaining high levels of protection for vulnerable adults.

Islanders will need to makes sure that six months have passed between doses before booking their booster.

Care home residents, islanders over 80, and all health and social care workers are able to book their boosters now, with the vaccinations starting on Monday.

The schedule for other groups is as follows:

  • Over-70s - Monday 27 September
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable aged 16 to 69 and clinically at risk aged 16 to 69 - Monday 4 October
  • Over-60s - Monday 11 October
  • Over-50s - Monday 18 October
  • Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed people and adult carers - Monday 25 October

Boosters will be predominantly taking place at Fort Regent, though for those in care homes, the mobile teams will be working with carers to deliver the vaccine to residents and those who are vulnerable.

Pfizer is the preferred vaccine for the boosters - Dr Ivan Muscat said the preference for Pfizer came from studies that suggest its efficacy lasts longer.

Flu vaccines

Flu vaccines are also to be offered free of charge to islanders over-50 and those in at-risk flu groups.

The programme is expected to start from Monday 18 October when doses are expected to come in.

With the JCVI's recommendation that flu and covid booster vaccines can be administered together for those who are eligible, the Fort Regent team are hoping to be able to offer the flu vaccine too once it is in.

Those included in flu priority groups are:

  • infants 6 months to 2 years of age in a clinical risk group
  • all children aged 2, 3 and 4 years
  • school aged children - Reception up to year 11
  • 16 to 50 years in clinical risk group
  • people aged 50 and older
  • pregnant women
  • households of those on the shielded patient list or of immunocompromised individuals
  • home carers
  • care home and domiciliary staff
  • frontline health and community services staff

From Monday, schoolchildren - who are two to three times more likely to catch flu than adults - will also be offered the nasal flu vaccine.

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "Jersey's covid-19 vaccination programme has been hugely successful in protecting people against hospitalisation and serious illness, and I am pleased that we can now start a booster programme which will prolong that protection as we head towards the winter.

"The programme will start in care homes and at the vaccination centre from Monday. This will ensure that our most vulnerable Islanders are protected from COVID-19 and will maximise protection as we approach winter.

"Most of these people will also be eligible for the annual flu vaccine and I hope eligible Islanders will take up this offer once the vaccine arrives in Jersey."

Ivan Muscat

Pictured: Dr Ivan Muscat said that "the third booster doses will be Pfizer, regardless of which vaccine was received for primary doses."

The Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: "We have followed the expert advice of the UK health authorities and the JCVI throughout our response to the pandemic, and the COVID booster programme will ensure that the protection we have provided to islanders will be maintained throughout the winter months.

"The booster dose should only be given six months after a second dose. The third booster doses will be Pfizer, regardless of which vaccine was received for primary doses. This is perfectly safe and follows evidence that indicates the Pfizer vaccine is well tolerated as a third dose and provides a strong booster response."

"A booster dose is the best way to maintain the high level of protection provided by the vaccines, and we will be offering flu vaccines at the same time when the vaccine becomes available.

"We are expecting a much higher prevalence of flu this winter given the virus was in low circulation last season due to the reduction in international travel and the measures introduced to limit gatherings.

"Getting a flu vaccination this year, as soon as they are available, is incredibly important to ensure that the more vulnerable members of our population are protected against flu."

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Pictured: The Chief Minister said that he hoped the vaccines would help people make their own "informed" choices about staying safe.

The Chief Minister, Senator John le Fondré, said: "Vaccination has been a real game-changer. If you are 50 or older, and double vaccinated, you are now 25 times less likely to be hospitalised than an unvaccinated person of the same age.

"This does not mean the future is without risk, but it does mean we can encourage people to make their own, informed choices about keeping themselves safe.

"There are practical steps that we can all take to lower our risk of catching covid, by choosing to meet up outside or in smaller groups, maintaining physical distancing or choosing to wear a mask.

"We expect the rates of covid to fluctuate as we progress through autumn. Ministers will be closely monitoring these trends but our key focus now is on hospitalisations rather than case numbers.

"Today's updates to our vaccination programme will further insulate the health of our community from the worst effects of covid-19 and give additional protection to our society."

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