One Year Since First Covid Vaccines

Today marks one year since the first Covid-19 vaccines were administered in Jersey.

Thousands of islanders have had one, two, or three doses of the vaccine since, as the world continues to battle the ongoing pandemic.

It continues over this festive period, with booster jabs available to all islanders aged 30 and over who've had their second dose at least three months ago.

Becky Sherrington has led the vaccine programme for the last 12 months. She says it's been tiring!

"The challenge has been an incredible one, to see that the island has come together behind this and the island is still supporting it.

Whether that's islanders themselves, or the different charitable sectors working with us like, for example, the Shelter Trust, another charity like St John (Ambulance), the whole support from everyone has been brilliant.

It's hard to believe that a year ago, nursing and residential homes were closed to visitors, people were advised to shield and to stay in their own homes, businesses were impacted, education was impacted, it's actually really quite difficult now to look back at that moment.

We're in a much, much, much better place and as an island, in my view, I think we responded really well."

The first person in the Channel Islands to be vaccinated against Covid-19 was 88-year-old Beryl Taylor, who lives at Cheval Roc residential home.

Beryl receiving her first Covid-19 vaccine dose

12 months on, she's encouraging everyone to get a booster jab:

"You never know when somebody is going to catch it, you could be a contact, and it's so difficult nowadays and you can't just stay at home and not go out - you have to go out at some stage.

"I hope everyone is wearing a mask as with getting three jabs, is the only protection we have against [Covid]. Otherwise, we're liable at any time and any day to go down with it. I've had all the jabs - I've also had the flu jab - and I've found they've been very good in the past."

88-year-old Beryl Taylor was the first person in the Channel Islands to be vaccinated against Covid-19

Beryl added that she's looking forward to seeing friends and family this Christmas - something which wasn't possible last year:

"This Christmas, I'm hoping to spend it with my family - but who knows what is going to happen from day-to-day? Who knows if we'll be allowed out. I'm hoping it won't be as bad as last year where we had to sit in our rooms on our own eating Christmas lunch. It was the first time I wasn't with my family.

"My family changes over the years - as everybody's does - but last year was especially bad as I had no family with me. They were on the phone - but it's not the same."

Ms Sherrington is stepping down from the Covid-19 programme team and will join the Care Commission as the new Chief Inspector from the start of next year.

She says as a nurse, this has been the best nursing opportunity she will ever have.

"That has been made incredibly special and it sounds a bit cliche, but it really has been because of the people I've worked with. 

There has been an incredible team."

Emma Baker is succeeding her. She is joining from her role as Lead Nurse for Infection Prevention and Control in the Health Department.

She says she's really excited to be leading the programme.

"Covid is continually evolving and we're learning all the time, so really looking forward to taking a lead on the service and expanding things.

We'd like to roll out the programme as quickly and as safely as we can do. Boosters are really important, as immunity is waning following our primary doses of vaccination, it's really important that our islanders come forward when they're eligible to be vaccinated for their boosters.

Currently, 74% of everybody aged over 40, of our eligible population, have been vaccinated with their boosters.

I'd please just urge everybody else who is eligible to come forward to help protect themselves, their families, their loved ones, and our island."

The UK Government has announced plans to offer every adult in England a coronavirus booster by the end of this month, because of increasing concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

There have been no confirmed cases of Omicron in Jersey.

18 to 29-year-olds in Jersey are due to be offered their booster in January.

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