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Vaccine programme ‘escaped’ homeless and some over-80s

Vaccine programme ‘escaped’ homeless and some over-80s

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Vaccine programme ‘escaped’ homeless and some over-80s

Covid vaccination efforts have not reached all areas of the population, with the hospital reporting concerns about encountering homeless people and even islanders over the age of 80 who have not been jabbed.

Jersey’s covid vaccination regime prioritised the clinically vulnerable and older islanders, with the over-80s eligible to get their vaccines from 13 January this year.

However, despite the Government reporting near-100% coverage of the age group, recently published meeting minutes show that Health’s Group Managing Director Rob Sainsbury flagged to the island’s main pandemic advisory team in August that "the General Hospital team was seeing evidence of 'escaped' vaccination groups within the hospital, such as those who were more than 80 years of age, as well as some members of the homeless population."

He asked "the Cell to consider whether it now needed to amend its focus in its targeting of unvaccinated members of the population."

Ivan Muscat

Pictured: Dr Ivan Muscat said discussions were underway with those who worked with members of the island's homeless population around vaccinations.

In response, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, Dr Ivan Muscat "confirmed that discussions were underway with the relevant [Adult Social Work] professionals at Maison de Pape, who worked with members of the island's homeless population."

Discussions amongst the cell also confirmed that "migrant workers were also a group that required assistance to become vaccinated as well."

Dr Muscat said he would discuss matters relating to the vaccination of the groups with the Head of Vaccine Programme, Becky Sherrington, as soon as possible.

Associate Medical Director for Primary Prevention and Intervention, Dr Adrian Noon, followed this by saying "that the vaccinations team had accomplished a constructive piece of work with the Shelter around what was defined as 'true' homelessness."

He added that "the team was also aware that it needed to further consider those who had no fixed abode, and who were staying at various addresses on a temporary basis."

The minutes not that the Cell was also "reassured that it had a good channel of ongoing communications with the Jersey Farmers Union (JFU) in order to communicate with seasonal farm workers," and "that it was more difficult to target seasonal workers in the hospitality industry."

Currently there are 74,327 islanders fully vaccinated against covid.

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