Island residents are encouraged to still come forward and take up the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
Last week the Government announced plans to move to an endemic approach at the end of March, which is largely due to the Island’s extremely successful vaccination programme with over 90% of the eligible population having had two doses and 73% having had a booster.
Vaccination remains the key defence against COVID-19 and availability and uptake of vaccines will play a crucial part in ensuring that the Island is in the position where regulations can be removed whilst the community is still protected.
Vaccines are currently being offered to the following cohorts:
- Two paediatric doses for clinically vulnerable 5 - 11 year olds and those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed at least 8 weeks apart
- Two primary doses for anyone aged 12 - 17 not in an at-risk group at least 12 weeks apart
- Two primary doses for anyone aged 12 - 17 in an at-risk group at least 8 weeks apart
- Two primary doses for anyone aged 18 or over at least 8 weeks apart
- Third primary dose for immunosuppressed individuals aged 12 and over at a period to be determined by their Specialist (but normally 8 weeks after their second primary dose)
- Booster vaccines for anyone aged 16 and over and those aged 12 - 15 in at-risk groups at least three months after second or third primary dose
Latest data from the UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that both the Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines are proven to be up to 96% effective against hospitalisation after two primary doses.
Evidence also suggests that protection from the two primary doses declines over time, with the booster vaccine increasing this back to over 90%.
Lawrie Hooper MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care said;
‘The vaccines are our best line of defence against the virus, and are the main reason the Council of Ministers feels the Island is ready to move to this new approach.
‘In order to ensure that the Island can move forward with this approach and minimise the need for continuing COVID restrictions, it is vital that anyone who is eligible for the vaccine comes forward and gets the full course, not only to protect themselves but also to protect our community and the capacity within our health service.
‘The latest data highlights the importance of getting that increased protection from COVID and reducing the chances of ending up seriously ill or needing hospitalisation.’
Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health added:
‘If you have had COVID, you need to wait four weeks from your positive test to have your booster. So if you were one of the many people who tested positive around the festive season and had to delay your booster, it’s time to come forward. Infection will give some immunity but it is less predictable than vaccination and vaccination will give you valuable increased protection.
‘It is also extremely important that individuals who have had their third dose due to being clinically vulnerable take up the offer of a booster jab. Getting the vaccine is the best way to prevent the likelihood of becoming seriously unwell from COVID and is all the more important if you have a weakened immune system in helping ensure you are protected.’
The vaccination team are continuing to hold walk-in clinics at various locations across the Island throughout the month, offering first, second, third and booster doses for anyone aged 12 and over who is eligible.
Paediatric doses for the 5 - 11 at risk groups are being delivered at a specific appointment only clinic on the 12 February and parents are encouraged to pre-register their children online for an appointment.