Faith leaders join vaccine campaign

FAITH leaders have been recruited as part of a campaign to promote the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Mike Keirle. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30029781)
The Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Mike Keirle. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30029781)

Although thousands of people have already received their jabs since the first vaccines were administered on 13 December, the government is now seeking to ensure the highest possible levels of take-up.

The Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Mike Keirle, and other faith leaders are to feature in a range of advertisements and social media posts urging those who are eligible to book their appointments.

Other faith leaders taking part in the campaign are the Catholic Dean of Jersey, Canon Dominic Golding, President of the Jersey Jewish Congregation, Stephen Regal, Methodist Superintendent, the Rev Dawn Saunders and the leader of Jersey’s Muslim community, Dr Sarfraz Jamali.

Currently the vaccination centre at Fort Regent is receiving over-80s, before the focus shifts to lower age brackets from later this month.

Mr Keirle said he was pleased to be backing the campaign.

‘I am very keen to be supporting this vital campaign, and especially for those who are older to get vaccinated as soon as possible,’ he said. ‘It’s part of the move back towards normality and the collective freedoms that we haven’t had as a result of the pandemic.

‘Having the population vaccinated will mean we can become a community again, and I know that when it’s my turn I’ll be getting vaccinated as soon as possible.’

Figures released this week showed that last Sunday – the day for which the most up-to-date figures are available – 3,590 Islanders had received a first dose of a vaccine and 1,306 second doses had been administered.

Jabs for over-80s began at the start of the week, meaning that the overall figure is now likely to be considerably higher, with Chief Minister John Le Fondré saying in a radio interview yesterday that an estimated total of 7,000 vaccinations would be delivered by tomorrow.

Health Minister Richard Renouf said on 7 January that he hoped all over-50s, as well as under-50s deemed at high risk – a total of 49,000 Islanders – would be vaccinated by 29 March.

Guernsey published an update on its vaccination programme yesterday, with 2,611 doses having been administered by the start of this week (11 January). A total of 1,661 first doses had been given, plus 950 second doses.

The Government of Guernsey said four doses of the vaccine had been given for every 100 people – this compares with the UK figure of 4.94 (13 January) and Jersey’s 4.54 (10 January).

Islanders who wish to arrange an appointment for someone who is over 80 are asked to visit the online booking portal – gov.je/vaccine – or if they are unable to use the online facility to call the coronavirus helpline on 445566.

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