Appeal for over-40s to get booster jab ‘without delay’

ISLANDERS aged 40 and above have been urged to get a Covid-19 booster vaccine without delay to counter waning levels of immunity.

Appointments are available at the vaccination centre at Fort Regent Picture: JON GUEGAN (32120561)
Appointments are available at the vaccination centre at Fort Regent Picture: JON GUEGAN (32120561)

The government made the appeal in an attempt to drive up the numbers of those who have received their third dose.

With levels of immunity estimated to fall from a high of 80% two weeks after a second dose to between 50% and 60% after six months, many Islanders, including hundreds of frontline healthcare workers, are now at a higher risk of becoming infected.

Government statistics show that 86% of frontline healthcare staff, including hospital doctors, nurses, dentists, GPs and pharmacists, were double-jabbed by 2 May.

The latest data from 14 November state that 49% of this group had received a booster, meaning around 550 healthcare staff had waning levels of immunity.

Becky Sherrington, head of the Island’s vaccination programme, said: It’s really important that people come forward and make an appointment. Slots at the vaccination centre [at Fort Regent] are filling up fast but those who book appointments should be able to get one within the next week.’

Mrs Sherrington said it was not realistic to set up an additional strand of the programme for healthcare staff, as the programme was already operating on four fronts: Fort Regent, home visits and mobile units for care homes and schools.

In the UK, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed earlier this month that vaccination would be compulsory for all 1.45 million NHS staff in England from next April, but the Island’s director of public health, Professor Peter Bradley, said he thought such a move was unlikely in Jersey.

Those aged 40 to 49 are now able to book booster doses – once six months have passed after their second jab – following recent guidance from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Meanwhile, Islanders aged 16 and 17 may now book appointments for their second dose, subject to at least 12 weeks having passed since their first jab or since receiving a positive test result for Covid.

Mrs Sherrington said having a second jab would reduce the risk of children having to miss school and have their education disrupted.

There were plenty of options for appointments outside school hours, she added, with the vaccination centre open until 6.15pm on weekdays and at weekends.

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