Ministers have agreed a set of measures to ensure that elderly Islanders and care home residents are fit and ready to be vaccinated. The vaccine rollout is anticipated to start in Jersey next week, and as people need to be free from infection in order to receive a vaccine, restrictions are being introduced in care homes to ensure residents are protected from Covid-19 and are well enough to be vaccinated.
Health officials say this group of people is at high risk and needs to be kept safe, so people will not be allowed to visit care home residents until this group have been vaccinated, except for Christmas or for end of life care. Any resident who leaves their care home to visit friends or family must isolate on their return to the home.
These measures come into force tomorrow and will remain in place until early January, when the second dose of the vaccine is due to be delivered.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “We understand this is a difficult message, but it is an emergency measure designed to keep people safe for a short period until they can receive their double dose of vaccine.
“We are seeing the escalation we anticipated in the winter, with cases spreading in the community. We have already put in place a public health response which aims to control the spread of the virus while also minimising harm to individuals and maintaining individual freedoms. But this group of people is especially vulnerable and needs special attention.
“Care homes are doing a good job of protecting their residents – with robust infection control measures, PPE and regulated visits. But the current level of positivity in the community brings a heightened level of risk, and additional testing of care home staff and residents has identified a small number of cases.
“So we have taken action to make sure these more vulnerable members of our community are ready to receive their vaccinations from next week, by changing processes for visits to care homes and for residents to go on visits. It’s such a short time until the vaccine arrives, we must do all we can to ensure residents are well enough to be vaccinated.”
A hospitality circuit-breaker began on Friday 4 December which has closed all licensed hospitality venues. All shops remain open, but gyms and indoor sport and fitness classes are closed, and the 2-metre distancing law has been brought back into force.
Government of Jersey News Release.