Vaccinator teams at the Island’s two hubs are working at capacity again this week as they continue protecting vulnerable groups from serious illness caused by Covid-19. More than 35,000 vaccines have been administered overall, with the rollout programme on course to meet its target to have given one dose to all those in the Phase One priority groups by the end of April - deliveries permitting.
Residents are invited in order of priority group to register for vaccination once they receive their letter, with appointments provided subsequently by the 111 team. Going for a vaccination is classed as essential medical care and is therefore permitted during the current lockdown, including for those who are shielding – who may be taken to a hub by another person in accordance with the rules.
People with booked appointments who are self-isolating have been asked to contact 111 so the slot can be reallocated and their appointment deferred. Additionally, those who receive an invitation while self-isolating are asked to call 111, even though the end of their self-isolation period is unknown at the time, to ensure registrations continue to be logged in the system in order.
Residents are asked to cooperate with the process, which has been designed to deliver vaccines to the population as efficiently as possible – and to note that vaccine choice is not offered unless there is a clinical reason agreed by the individual’s GP or consultant why a particular brand is not suitable.
Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:
‘I urge everyone to immediately register when they are invited, as we have a significant number of people in self isolation unable to attend at present. It is important to maintain the flow of registrations and bookings to ensure vaccine gets into as many arms as possible, and the programme continues at pace.
‘The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is part of the UK and Isle of Man rollout programmes. The UK’s medicines’ regulator is urging people to go and get their vaccines when invited to do so, while monitoring reports of a link with blood clots. The data suggests that the number of incidents relating to people who have been vaccinated is no greater than occurs in the population generally, and that the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh any potential risk.
‘I would ask people not call to cancel their appointment for the Oxford jab or ask our team for a different vaccine. It is an individual’s choice whether to accept an appointment or be vaccinated at all - but from our side, we will give patients the vaccine allocated to their group and time frame, in line with delivery schedules and our overriding aim to protect the population.’
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) both support continued use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead said:
‘We are closely reviewing reports [of a link between AZ vaccine and blood clots] but the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the AZ vaccine have now been administered across the UK, and the number of blood clots reported after having the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.’
Emer Cook, EMA Executive Director said:
‘Vaccines for Covid-19 help to protect individuals from becoming ill, especially healthcare professionals and vulnerable populations such as older people and people with chronic diseases. This is a very important consideration in our assessment of the benefit-risk. So while the investigation is ongoing currently we are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risk of these side effects.’