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Gibraltar set to receive Covid jabs for booster campaign

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Photo by PA.

A shipment of nearly 5,000 does of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is due to arrive in Gibraltar on Thursday night, with the vaccination program set to resume as from Monday.

The vaccines left the UK vaccine storage facility in Merseyside on Thursday morning packed in -70C ultra-cold storage containers bound for RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

At RAF Brize Norton the vaccine will be carefully loaded onto a RAF flight bound for North Front Airport Gibraltar and due to arrive at 11.20pm.

This latest consignment of the vaccine will allow the commencement of the booster vaccination programme for people over 50, health and care staff and those who are in risk categories.

It will also allow the GHA to commence the vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year olds who wish to take up the offer of a jab.

A further additional supply of 7,000 doses of vaccine is expected from the UK in the next few weeks.

Earlier this week Dr Helen Carter, the Director of Public, told the Chronicle the delivery of the jabs had been slowed by supply chain disruption and fuel shortages in the UK.

“The UK government has once again ensured that Gibraltar has immediate access to supplies of the Pfizer vaccine to ensure that eligible people who wish to take up the offer of a booster dose are able to do so, along with young people whose parents would like them to be vaccinated,” said Samantha Sacramento the Minister for Health.

“I have asked the Covid vaccination committee to ensure that the next phase of Gibraltar’s vaccination campaign commences as soon as possible to ensure the continued maximum protection of our population.”

Dr Carter added: “I encourage people to take up the offer of a booster because we know that when we age our body’s immune responses may decline over time.”

“And the same for people who have compromised immune systems or long-term conditions, hence a booster is being offered.”

“We are offering the booster to all health and social care staff to keep protecting the most vulnerable in Gibraltar.”

“I have carefully considered the evidence of offering a single dose of the vaccine for 12-15 year olds.”

“To enable families to give informed consent we will be providing you with a leaflet sign posting to further information.”

“I have concluded that for a single dose, in this age group, that the benefits of vaccination are positive.”

“I would encourage you all to take up the offer of Covid-19 vaccination.”

Professor Ian Cumming, the chairman of the Gibraltar Covid-19 vaccination committee, welcomed the development.

“Once again the amazing vaccination teams at the GHA and ERS have swung into action with plans to ensure that eligible people wishing to have the recommended booster dose are able to do so in the evenings or at weekends over the next six weeks or so,” he said.

“This time round we anticipate giving in excess of 12,000 doses of vaccine to people over 50, the especially vulnerable, front line health and care staff, and young people.”

“Approximately 50% of the world’s population have now been vaccinated against the virus that causes Covid-19 and the impact on the severity of disease and the reduction in transmission amongst the vaccinated is clear to see.”

Plans are now in place for the programme to start next week with booster doses to commence in ERS for residents and staff from next Monday.

GHA and Care Agency staff booster doses will start being given as from October 11 in the evenings in the PCC.

Public booster vaccines will also be given as from October 11 in the evenings and weekends at the children’s PCC.

People can register interest in the booster doses through the following link https://www.gha.gi/pfizerbooster/.

Vaccinations for 12-15 year old children will commence in school after the mid-term break.

Consent forms and information leaflets for the children’s vaccination programme will be sent to parents in the next few days.

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