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16 And 17 Year Olds Eligible For Pfizer Vaccine

It has been confirmed that all 16 and 17-year-olds in Jersey are eligible for a first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

It follows recommendations from vaccine experts in the UK.

The expectation is that second doses will be offered around 12 weeks after the first, but that's subject to confirmation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

12 to 15-year-olds with specific underlying health conditions - such as a severe neuro-disability, Down's Syndrome, immunosuppression, or a severe learning disability - will also be offered the vaccine.

Close household contacts of immunosuppressed people will also be offered it.

The government says work continues to make sure this group is vaccinated in a safe and ethical way - with a further announcement to follow next week.

These young people do not need parental consent to get the vaccine, but the government says parents will be closely involved in talks about vaccination for their children.

The JCVI is not currently recommending routine vaccination for under 16s unless they are at risk or a close household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed.

"As we offer the Covid-19 vaccination to more of our population we will reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread in our community. The JCVI has carefully considered the balance of risks for under-18s to have the vaccine, and I am confident that their recommendations are based on sound research and robust data.

"We will provide more details on the second dose for 16-17 year-olds as soon as the JCVI has confirmed its advice." - Deputy Richard Renouf, Health Minister.

Vaccines are still being offered to all adults in Jersey. All over 18s can still book an appointment for a first dose at Fort Regent, but the centre will be closed on certain days this month as more focus is placed on arranging the vaccine booster programme in the autumn.

People can also walk in to Fort Regent at certain times on certain days to get their first dose.

They can also attend a vaccine clinic in certain locations across the island over the next week and a half.

"I would like to reassure Islanders that these vaccines are safe and effective for use in this age group. The vaccine has been through rigorous clinical trials to test these vaccines in younger people and there is now considerable post-marketing experience of vaccination within this group. 

"It has, of course, been authorised by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Additionally, it is used routinely in these age groups in the USA, Canada and other countries.

"Although serious illness from COVID-19 is fairly rare amongst healthy young people, there is still a risk, and the risk is higher for those who are classed as clinically vulnerable. If they choose to be vaccinated, they will have a significant measure of protection against serious illness." - Dr. Ivan Muscat, Deputy Medical Officer of Health.

All 17-year-olds who are within three months of their 18th birthday have already been offered the vaccine.

79% of Jersey adults are now fully vaccinated, with 85% receiving one dose.

"Over the past week, we have seen more Islanders, particularly young Islanders coming forward for their first Covid vaccine. The Rock Up clinics are proving to be very successful and by extending walk-in appointments at Fort Regent, more Islanders have been able to make use of the flexibility and ease. 

"There are still Islanders who have not yet come forward for the first dose, those Islanders should feel free to come and talk to any of our medical staff at the Rock Up clinics or at Fort Regent who will be able to answer any questions, big or small, about the vaccines. Almost 80% of adult Islanders are fully vaccinated which is absolutely fantastic." - Ross Barnes, Vaccination Programme Operations Lead.

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