All island adults over the age of 40 will now be offered a booster Covid jab, the gov has confirmed.
Meanwhile all 16-17-year-olds will also be invited for a second covid jab.
These changes come following updates in advice from the UK’s JCVI, which the island has followed almost totally since the start of the pandemic.
As a result of these changes, about 6,000 more residents over the age of 40 will be offered a booster jab. This move comes as nearly 13,000 residents have come forward to receive their additional dose since the start of the booster rollout in early October.
DHSC Minister Lawrie Hooper said: ‘By expanding the eligibility for the booster to include those aged 40 and over, it means that we are providing more of the community the chance to top-up their declining immunity ahead of winter.
‘A drop in immunity following the first two primary doses could result in an uptick in cases and hospitalisation, resulting in added pressures for our health services in an already busy winter period. The encouraging results from the UKHSA highlight the importance of why those eligible should receive the booster. I urge anyone who is eligible and receives their invite to please come forward and take up the opportunity to get the booster. Apart from protecting yourself, it is the single most useful thing you can do to help prevent a surge in demand on the health care services at its busiest time of year.’
Invites are in the process of being sent out to all eligible cohorts who have reached the six months mark following their second dose. Anyone who is unable to attend their appointment is asked to please contact the team either by calling 111 or emailing email@example.com to rearrange at the earliest possible opportunity.
Meanwhile all 16 -17 year olds on the island will now be offered a second dose. The JCVI has reviewed the latest evidence on the benefits and risks of vaccination, concluding that the balance supports offering all young people aged 16 and 17 who are not in an at-risk group, a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least 12 weeks after their first dose.
Mr Hooper said: ‘Covid cases have been circulating among older teens over the last few months. By offering a second dose to this age group, we will be increasing their protection against the virus. I encourage everyone to come forward for their vaccine when invited.’
Anyone in this age group who has contracted COVID-19 after having their first vaccine will only be allowed their second dose 12 weeks after the positive test or onset of symptoms.
The vaccination team are currently planning the rollout of second doses to young people and will be in touch shortly.