Jersey to offer all islanders first available coronavirus vaccine for free

Credit: PA

The first vaccine against coronavirus to be developed will be made free for everyone in Jersey, the Chief Minister has announced.

Senator John Le Fondré says the government will roll out the vaccine in a phased approach, beginning with high-risk groups and front-line workers and then being distributed based on age.

Research into the development of potential vaccines is already underway at Oxford University and the Chief Minister says the island will be ready to 'receive and deploy a vaccine as soon as it is ready.'

The process would likely involve the need for a second vaccination but the government would later assess whether this would available free to islanders.

Senator Le Fondré says while the island may only be at the 'half-way point' of the fight against coronavirus, the government will be working to avoid a second lockdown by isolating cases of the virus to prevent them becoming clusters as numbers rise.

However, he said that restrictions could be tightened if a wider outbreak was to occur.

Steps may include changes to travel and working practices, tightening the regional classifications and potentially targeted and local lockdowns. We desperately want to avoid this situation, but it will be better to act firmly and decisively in order to keep people safe and keep children in school and people in work in the weeks and months that follow.

Senator John Le Fondré, Jersey's Chief Minister

The Chief Minister says the island is prepared for a 'Covid winter', including stepping up its winter flu preparations. Under the plans, the over 50s and children will also be offered the flu vaccine.

Referring to the new 'regionalised' travel guidance, he said this would be extended to other jurisdictions that had 'reliable and verified data' to inform the government's assessments .