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Govt confirms 97% uptake in vaccination programme

Chronicle photographer Johnny Bugeja receives his second jab.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme has seen an overall community uptake of 97%, the Gibraltar Government has confirmed.

That include 89% of frontline GHA staff and teachers fully inoculated, and 50% of teenagers aged between 16 and 18 vaccinated so far.

Since the programme began in early January some 34,000 vaccines have been administered, including just over 13,000 second doses.

The high uptake comes as the Gibraltar Government slowly steps down restrictions following weeks of lockdown.

It is hoped a high vaccination rate will assist efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and result in far fewer hospitalised cases.

Overall, 97.1% of people aged 60 and over have accepted the vaccine and the GHA is now working on vaccinating younger adult age groups.

Some 98.6% of ERS residents, 97.3% of ERS staff, 89.6% of GHA staff, 89% of all school staff and 97.6% of all those aged 70 and over have accepted the vaccine.

For those aged 16 to 18 years the vaccination programme is still underway but so far 50% have received their jab.

On Friday the GHA had its busiest day administering 1,290 vaccines, and began vaccinating university students with 70 receiving their first dose.

The GHA has urged any university student who has not yet registered their interest to receive the vaccine to do online via: https://www.gha.gi/university-students-register-of-interest-form/

The Minister for Health, Samantha Sacramento, said the vaccine will ensure students can safely return to universities abroad.

“I am delighted that the drive to vaccinate Gibraltar’s university students is successfully underway, offering them the opportunity to return safely to their place of study with the confidence that they will have the maximum possible level of protection,” she said.

“I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet registered their interest to do so.”

On Wednesday, Gibraltar received a further 12,870 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines sent from the UK, and GHA is now working down the younger age groups.

The GHA is now contacting individuals in their 40s is encouraging this age group to register online form at: https://www.gha.gi/registration-for-over-40s/ or contact 20066966 for an appointment.

“I am extremely pleased at the pace of our extremely successful the vaccine programme against Covid-19 and I’d like to thank everyone who continue to work extremely hard everyday to inoculate as many people in our community as quickly as possible,” Mrs Sacramento said.

Daily up to 1,000 people are being vaccinated resulting in 30,000 vaccines administered in six weeks.

OXFORD VACCINE

Hope hinges of the Pfizer vaccine, which has an efficacy of 95%, but the Government is also offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca for those with allergies.

The GHA confirmed a very small number of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine were received from the UK a few weeks ago.

These doses were allocated only to individuals with multiple medication allergies who were assessed by the clinical teams and considered more suitable to receive this particular vaccine.

“Only a very few individuals have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Gibraltar,” the Government said.

“There are no plans currently to bring any more AstraZeneca vaccine to Gibraltar as we have sufficient supply to vaccinate all those who need it clinically.”

The statement from No6 Convent Place added, the drive and focus of the vaccination programme remains with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The Government said supply of Pfizer vaccine from the UK has been sufficient to so far vaccinate all priority age groups to 40 years olds and above and no doses had been wasted.

“Our incredibly successful vaccination programme has delivered first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to almost two thirds of the population of Gibraltar with little side effects and an impressive level of protection,” Ms Sacramento said.

“I feel very optimistic that we can now slowly but safely unlock our community and our health services due to the programme and the level of uptake from the community.”

“We will continue to offer the Pfizer vaccine only, except in very select clinically assessed individuals.”

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