Alderney approves then uses Oxford vaccine

States meeting brought forward to give approval to second Covid-19 vaccine.

Having been approved for use at an emergency meeting of the States of Alderney yesterday morning, the team at the Island Medical Centre began preparations at once to vaccine The Connaught residents and staff with the Oxford University/Astra Zeneca vaccine. Medical director Dr Sally Simmonds, left, Dr Simon Hamilton and practise nurse Caroline Yorke, were pleased to be able to use the vaccine. (Picture by David Nash)
Having been approved for use at an emergency meeting of the States of Alderney yesterday morning, the team at the Island Medical Centre began preparations at once to vaccine The Connaught residents and staff with the Oxford University/Astra Zeneca vaccine. Medical director Dr Sally Simmonds, left, Dr Simon Hamilton and practise nurse Caroline Yorke, were pleased to be able to use the vaccine. (Picture by David Nash)

The fight against Covid-19 in the Bailiwick was stepped up yesterday with the roll out of the 'game-changing' Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in Alderney. 

Care home residents and staff were the first to be vaccinated in the island using the vaccine after an emergency meeting of its States yesterday morning saw a change in law to allow it. 

The first Alderney resident to receive her Oxford University/AstraZeneca Vaccination today .
The first Alderney resident to receive her Oxford University/AstraZeneca Vaccination today .

Alderney's frontline medical and care home staff began receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in mid-December in Guernsey. 

But to begin using the more recently approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, batched of which arrived at the weekend, The stated had to move its Wednesday meeting forward to agree the law change. 

Politicians needed to enact the European Communities (Corona Vaccine) Ordinance 2020, so those administering the vaccine were protected from prosecution.

Dr Sally Simmonds, clinical director of the Island Medical Centre, welcomed the decision to change the law which gave herself, her staff and anyone involve in the Covid-19 vaccination programme immunity from individual liability. 

It meant she was able to mobilise immediately her group to begin vaccinations at the adjacent The Connaught Care Home.  

Alderneys oldest resident - 107 years of age. Leading the way!
Alderneys oldest resident - 107 years of age. Leading the way!

Alderney has not had any cases of Covid-19. The arrival of the Oxford vaccine, which is more easily stored and transported, has ensured that residents of the care home do not have to be moved to receive the vaccine, unlike the Pfizer vaccine where residents had to travel to Guernsey as it had to be stored at minus 70C.

Regulators in the UK approved it on Wednesday, announcing the decision on Friday.

The priority recipients of the bot vaccines in Alderney are hospital, The Connaught care home, ambulance, pharmacy, The Island Medical Centre and  Border Agency staff. 

There are now nine known active cases of the Covid-19 in the Bailiwick, an increase of one case from the weekend. 

The new case was a contact of a current case, both of whom were inbound passengers self-isolating together.

Currently there is still no evidence of community seeding, and none of the patients with Covid-19 is in hospital. 

 Jersey now has 302 active cases and has registered 27 deaths in the second wave, two in past day. More than 3.100 doses of vaccine have bee administered there so far. 

In England, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said that the next few weeks will be the worst of the pandemic as he urged everyone to minisime meeting other people. 

Across the country, one in 50 people have the virus. 

Dr Simon Hamilton gives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine to director of the Connaught care home Barbara Benfield.
Dr Simon Hamilton gives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine to director of the Connaught care home Barbara Benfield.

Original Article from Guernsey Press, photo credit: David Nash