Talks to vaccinate seasonal staff in line with Islanders

SEASONAL workers should be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as permanent residents, health officials have said.

Ross Barnes, operational lead for the vaccination programme. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30649964)
Ross Barnes, operational lead for the vaccination programme. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30649964)

Discussions have taken place between industry representatives and the Health Department aimed at ensuring seasonal workers are not excluded from the vaccination programme.

Latest figures released yesterday showed that, by Sunday 11 April, almost 71,000 doses of vaccine had been dispensed in Jersey, with 29% of adults having received two doses and a further 23% having had a single dose.

Ross Barnes, operations lead for the vaccination programme, said that seasonal workers in areas such as hospitality and agriculture were likely to be given access to the jab.

‘We are working with senior people in order to understand their requirements and establish what information they need,’ he said.

Those who had recently arrived in the Island and were aged 40 or above would be able to apply for a vaccine appointment straight away, Mr Barnes explained, while under-40s would become eligible at the same time as Islanders of that age. Bookings for those in their 30s are due to open in early May, with those aged 18 to 29 due to follow in late May.

The pace of the programme slowed slightly during the seven-day period ending last Sunday, with 5,206 doses administered, compared with more than 6,500 the previous week.

Mr Barnes said it had been expected that April would be ‘slightly quieter’ as a result of a temporary reduction in supplies, but he said an increase in supply was expected at the end of the month and that this would continue during May, June and July.

The first consignment of the Moderna vaccine, the third product to be licensed for use in the UK and Channel Islands, has now arrived in Jersey.

Moderna stocks are being held, along with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, for use when under-30s are able to receive their jabs. This follows news last week that Jersey would follow the UK in offering an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 18 to 29 as a result of a possible link to rare blood clots that had affected 79 people, 19 fatally, in the UK up to the end of March.

All Islanders waiting for their second dose remained in line to receive it within 12 weeks of their first jab, Mr Barnes confirmed. Those who had been waiting more than 11 weeks could call the coronavirus helpline to check, he said, but added that there were measures in place designed to highlight those who were approaching the 12-week recommended maximum interval and give them an appointment.

An average of 65.7 doses had been administered per 100 people in Jersey by last Sunday. The equivalent figures for other jurisdictions include the UK (58.7), the European Union (21.7) and the Isle of Man (72.1), while Guernsey’s latest figure, up to 14 April, was 64 doses per 100 people.

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