Vaccination programme is on schedule

JERSEY’S vaccination programme is still on schedule to cover all adult age groups by mid-August – despite supply chain issues preventing it from operating at full capacity.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30955606)
Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30955606)

Over 108,000 jabs have now been administered, and 70% of over-18s have received their first dose. Appointment bookings for 25 to 29-year-olds was due to open this morning, while the final priority group of 18 to 24-year-olds were expected to become eligible on 18 June.

However, Ross Barnes – the operational lead for the programme – said that variability in the supply chain had prevented the vaccine centre from hitting its target of 1,500 people per day.

He said: ‘We have always been guided by the amount of vaccine we have available.

‘We have been able to demonstrate that whatever the amount of vaccine we receive on a weekly basis, we are able to use that up within a week. We use that in the most efficient and safe way that we can to ensure that coverage.’

He added: ‘Unfortunately up until now we have not yet received enough vaccine in one go to meet a target of nearly 1,500 a day – the current record we have set is just above 1,300, which was really positive and great to be able to do.’

He said it was ‘not likely’ that the situation would change over the next few weeks, but that the programme was still on schedule to offer both doses to over-18s by mid-August.

During the booking phase for 30 to 34 year-olds, some Islanders had difficulty arranging their appointments due to technical problems with the government website.

Mr Barnes said: ‘We have identified the issues that occurred last time and have learnt the lessons from that.’

Meanwhile, a single-dose Covid vaccine made by Janssen – the pharmaceutical branch of Johnson & Johnson – has been approved by the UK, with 20 million doses due to arrive in the country later this year.

When asked if Jersey would be placing an order for it, Mr Barnes said: ‘If it is suitable and appropriate to do so when the time comes, then we will order that as required – at the minute we don’t envisage requiring it to complete the current programme.’

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