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Jersey investigates new covid tool to ensure no one at risk is missed

Jersey investigates new covid tool to ensure no one at risk is missed

Friday 19 February 2021

Jersey investigates new covid tool to ensure no one at risk is missed


Medics are looking at bringing a new digital tool to Jersey that helps calculate someone's risk of becoming seriously ill, or dying, from covid based on factors ranging from ethnicity to weight and social deprivation.

Information arising from the Oxford University-developed ‘QCovid’ tool has this week led to nearly two million more people in England being advised to shield and 800,000 fast-tracked for vaccines.

As well as underlying health conditions and age, which have so far been used to determine the vaccination priority list, it looks at sex registered at birth, ethnicity, and BMI, as well as residential situation to produce a risk assessment for an individual. 

Individuals whose results are above an agreed threshold for ‘high risk’ are instructed to stay at home, while others may find themselves moved up the priority list for a covid jab as a result.

Commissioned by England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty, QCovid is a 'living model', which means more information can be added to it as the pandemic continues and research into covid improves.

Responding to questions from Express, Vaccination Lead Becky Sherrington said that Jersey's Government was currently investigating whether it would be feasible to incorporate the risk analyser into Jersey GPs’ systems to ensure no one particularly vulnerable to covid is missed.

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Pictured: Vaccination Lead, Becky Sherrington.

Of the 25,900-plus covid vaccine doses administered in Jersey so far, more than 1,600 have been ‘high risk’ islanders aged between 16 and 69 receiving their first dose - around three quarters of the category. 84 individuals, meanwhile, have received both doses. 

Vaccination appointments opened to islanders deemed at ‘moderate risk’ aged between 55 and 64 on Monday, with those between 45 and 54 following on Monday 22 February and 16 to 44-year-olds on Wednesday 24 February. 

Ms Sherrington confirmed that the current definition of ‘moderate risk’ includes individuals classified as “seriously overweight”, with a BMI of 40 or above.

Research released earlier this week revealed such individuals to be ‘super-spreaders’ of the virus alongside the elderly, as both tend to produce more aerosol droplets when they exhale than their peers.

The vaccination team has been working closely with GPs to establish who exactly should fit into the 'moderate risk' category to provide a safeguard against people outside of the priority group signing up. 

Individuals with asthma, for example, will only qualify if they have recently been admitted to hospital or gone through at least two courses of oral steroids in the past 12 months. 

A GP is also based at the Fort to be able to verify islanders' medical records.

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Pictured: A GP is based at the Fort Regent Vaccination Centre.

The Vaccination Team admitted yesterday that a "small number" of individuals had turned up to Fort Regent, believing themselves to be eligible for a vaccine, only to be turned away.

Operations Lead Ross Barnes said that some individuals had been abusive to staff, but that an escalation plan was in place to deal with such incidents.

The Vaccination Team are now reminding islanders that they must turn up to their vaccination appointment with their invitation letter as proof of their eligibility.

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