Jabbed ‘far less likely to get Covid’, says report

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UNVACCINATED Islanders were more than three times as likely to test positive for Covid-19 last summer than those who had received at least two jabs, according to locally produced figures.

The government yesterday published a report about the vaccine status of positive cases in people aged 12 and over between July and November 2021.

The data shows that unvaccinated Islanders were between 2.2 to 3.7 times more likely to test positive for the virus than those who had received at least two doses.

Public health director Professor Peter Bradley said: ‘[The data] is absolutely consistent with international evidence, so I think it is a pretty reliable result, even if it is not up to full publication standards in a scientific sense. What it clearly shows is that vaccination is highly protective and you are far less likely to get a Covid infection – so vaccination works and it works in a Jersey context.’

The government plans to publish the report on a monthly basis – with the data for December currently being validated.

The vaccination status of Islanders in hospital with Covid-19 has not yet been published due to ongoing patient-confidentiality concerns, but a feasibility assessment is currently being carried out to see if there is a way that the data can be reported.

Professor Bradley said: ‘We have to balance the need for patient confidentiality against the very important message that vaccination protects against hospital admissions as well. We clearly see that internationally. We are working on how we can release the data in a way that does not compromise anyone’s personal data, and I am confident that as the volume of data increases we will be able to produce something on that.’

In yesterday’s JEP, St John Constable Andy Jehan said a ‘conscious decision’ was being made by the government not to publish the minutes of Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell meetings in a timely fashion.

Responding to this claim, Professor Bradley said: ‘The publication of STAC minutes is actually quite a complex process and it needs to go through multiple stages to ensure that when they are published they are entirely accurate. So we actually process them as quickly as we possibly can and we will continue to do that.’

Asked if the current frequency of booster doses being offered was likely to continue, he said: ‘Obviously we are following the UK guidance on the vaccination programme and that is run by the JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation]. Personally, I would be very surprised if the vaccination programme continues to offer vaccinations at that rate.’

Addressing the vaccination report, Health Minister Richard Renouf said: ‘I am pleased that this data has been collated and we have been able to put together this report that re-emphasises our strong recommendation to all Islanders aged 12 and over to get vaccinated against Covid-19. All vaccine-eligible Islanders are welcome to walk into Fort Regent’s vaccination centre without a booked appointment, any day of the week, to get their first, second, or booster dose.’

He added: ‘If you have not yet had your first dose it is not too late, and your vaccine is waiting for you. It is important that Islanders get up to date with their vaccination schedule in order to reduce the spread of infection in the workplace, community and at home. Vaccination remains our best defence against the virus, so ensuring you are fully vaccinated, or on your way to becoming fully vaccinated, in order to reduce the impact of waning immunity, is absolutely vital.’

Additionally, children and young people are now being included in the lateral-flow testing home programme.

Parents and carers are being asked to register online when their current stocks of LFT kits run low. After registering for the programme a box of 25 test kits will be posted to their home address free of charge. Schools, colleges and nurseries will also have emergency stocks of lateral-flow test kits for children who become direct contacts of a positive case but who have not yet registered for testing.

Islanders can register for the home-testing programme on the gov.je website.

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