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Prep for 'covid winter' begins

Prep for 'covid winter' begins

Thursday 01 September 2022

Prep for 'covid winter' begins

Thursday 01 September 2022


The long, hot summer has kept covid rates low, but cases will rise as autumn arrives, according to the island's top pandemic medic.

The Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat MBE, who is a specialist in microbiology and infectious disease, urged older and more vulnerable islanders to book a booster jab to protect themselves through autumn and winter.

He said: “The severity of the virus has decreased with time, partly because of the protection afforded by vaccination and past infection. In that sense, we are definitely better off. 

“The number of infections this month has dropped dramatically but, of course, it has been a very warm summer, and respiratory viruses tend not to find that a favourable environment in which to thrive.

“As we go into the colder months, as always respiratory viruses will pick up.”

There are currently just under 200 reported cases in the island, with five people in hospital with covid, but that may be incidental rather than someone specifically admitted for covid.

Around 20 people are reporting a new case of covid each day.

Covid_vaccine.jpg

Pictured: Older and more vulnerable islanders are being urged to book a booster jab to protect themselves through autumn and winter.

Dr Muscat added: “At the moment, covid activity is very low but we do anticipate, as with all respiratory viruses, it will increase as we go into autumn and winter, which is why offering the autumn booster now to help those most at risk and, as we go into winter, it will be reasonable to remind people of the need to undertake modest precautions to reduce the risk of infection.

“So, if people do have symptoms, they should get themselves tested to ensure that they isolate to prevent onwards transmission. Ventilation should be maximised within reason, and to maintain appropriate respiratory and hand hygiene.”

Bookings for the autumn booster open today.

Islanders that are eligible are:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and staff;
  • health and social care workers;
  • all adults aged 50 and above;
  • people aged 5 to 49 years in clinical risk groups;
  • people aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression;
  • people aged 16 to 49 years who are carers;

The booster, which is a bivalent vaccine so able to target both the original strain of covid and the Omicron variant, will be given as long as at least three months have passed since the last vaccination dose. 

If the last booster was missed, eligible Islanders are urged to receive their autumn booster as soon as possible.

Bookings will be opened in priority group order to ensure the most vulnerable can receive their vaccine. 

Care home residents and staff and Islanders aged 80 and over will be the first group to be offered appointments from Tuesday. 

Further booking dates will be announced in priority group order and will be released in due course. 

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