Govt urges people to take up Covid-19 jabs, warning stocks will expire and no guarantee over future supply
People who have yet to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine have been urged to “come forward immediately”, as the Gibraltar Government confirmed that there is no future guarantee of future supplies of the jab for Gibraltar.
Gibraltar has received numerous shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab from the UK since the vaccine became available, but current supplies will expire within the next four months.
The plea for people to take up the jab came too as the GHA confirmed it was preparing to offer paediatric vaccines for children in the five to 11-year age range.
“There is currently no guarantee of future supplies of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 to Gibraltar,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.
“The GHA does not therefore expect to receive any further supplies of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 in the immediate future and current supplies are due to expire in June.”
“All eligible members of the public who have not yet been vaccinated or require a second or a booster dose are strongly encouraged to come forward immediately.”
Public Health Gibraltar as repeatedly stressed the importance of vaccination as the best way to ensure protection for both individuals and the community as whole.
While Gibraltar has registered a significant number of infections in recent weeks, including fully vaccinated people, hospitalisation has been kept very low.
This factor has been attributed to the wide take-up of the jab, which public health experts say reduces the risk of severe effects from Covid-19.
Just this week, new research by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested the risk of death involving Covid-19 is 93% lower for people who have had a booster or third dose of vaccine compared with unvaccinated people.
Mortality rates for coronavirus deaths were found to be “consistently lower” across all age groups for those who had received an extra dose compared with those who had received no doses, the research showed.
The research used age-standardised mortality rates, which take into account differences in age structure and population size, to allow for comparisons between vaccination groups.
Among fully-vaccinated people in England who had received a booster or third dose at least 21 days previously, the age-adjusted risk of death involving Covid-19 between July and December last year was 93.4% lower compared with unvaccinated people, while it was 81.2% lower for those who had received only two doses.
In Gibraltar, where there were 995 active cases on Tuesday and another 1,158 people in isolation, GHA staff have administered 29,064 booster shots of the jab. Some 40,743 have received two doses of the vaccine.
“There is currently still a very high rate of Covid-19 cases in Gibraltar, and vaccination is proven as the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against hospitalisation and death,” said Samantha Sacramento, the Minister for Health.
“Everyone who hasn’t already been vaccinated or who needs a second or a booster dose should come forward immediately, before it’s too late.”
The call for people to come forward as soon as possible if they wish to take up the vaccine is to ensure the required time intervals between doses can be met before current stocks expire.
There needs to be an eight-week gap between the first and second doses and a 12-week gap before the booster.
Those aged 12-15 need to wait 12 weeks between each dose.
Additionally, if anyone has had Covid-19 they need to wait four weeks before any vaccine.
Anyone who comes forward after current stocks expire will be placed on a waiting list for any future Covid-19 vaccination programme.
To arrange a vaccination appointment, people can call 200 66966 or register their interest online:
• First or second dose for over 16s: https://www.gha.gi/registration-for-anyone-over-theage-of-16/
• First or second dose for 12-15s: email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Boosters: https://www.gha.gi/pfizerbooster/
• The GHA is also preparing to offer paediatric vaccines to 5-11-year-old children in early March, with details to be be announced shortly.
After June, Gibraltar will have access to small quantities of Astra Zeneca Vaccines for people over 40 but there will not be regular clinics.