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Gib plans ahead for child and booster vaccinations

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With Gibraltar’s Covid-19 vaccination programme ending soon, planning is under way to ensure Gibraltar is ready to administer booster shots if needed and to jab children once regulators give the green light.
Professor Ian Cumming, the UK Ambassador for Health to the Overseas Territories, played a key role in the planning for Gibraltar’s vaccination programme and has now set his sights on the months ahead.
Jabs will continue to be administered until the end of May, with the GHA looking at making special arrangements for returning students beyond that date.
This, Prof Cumming said, is dependent on the lifespan of the vaccine.
The deadline for registering for the Covid-19 vaccine has now closed and with the vaccination efforts winding down, the team in Gibraltar is now focused on new developments worldwide.
So far, no Covid-19 vaccine for children has been authorised for use in Gibraltar.
But companies have been developing their vaccines for teenagers.
In the US the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been approved by regulators for use in children as young as 12.
This is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be authorised in the United States for ages 12 to 15 and children in the US.
Canada has also recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in children.
In the UK, the NHS has drawn up contingency plans to vaccinate secondary school children against Covid later this year.
“We are also looking ahead to potential reports from clinical trials about vaccines being able to be offered to children between the ages of 12 and 16,” Prof Cumming said.
“If that is given the go ahead, then [Gibraltar’s aim will be] how do we access more vaccine, how do we start considering a vaccination programme for young people?”
“And then we’re also turning our attention to [the question of], if there is going to be a booster vaccine dose needed, how will we be able to deliver a booster vaccine dose to the population of Gibraltar in the autumn?”
Prof Cumming said he will be travelling back and forth from the UK, Gibraltar and other British Overseas Territories over the coming weeks and months.
He added the vaccination programme in Gibraltar is simpler to control than that of the UK.
“It’s different, Gibraltar’s a much smaller geographical area and population so in many ways that makes it slightly simpler to be able to access the population to deliver the vaccine, but it’s the same basic principles of how do we get as much vaccine as possible as quickly as possible into people’s arms,” Prof Cumming said.
“It doesn’t do good for anybody, the time [the vaccine is] in the freezer, and that logistical challenge is the same here as in the UK.”

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