Second doses of vaccine stepped up in Jersey amid new Covid-19 variant concern

Second doses of the coronavirus vaccine are being stepped up for some groups in Jersey. The over 50s and at risk groups will get their second jab sooner than planned, because of the spread of B1.617.1 - the so-called 'Indian variant' of the virus.

This is in line with the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

No cases of the variant have been detected in the island, but there has been a steep rise in the number of cases of the variant in parts of England in recent days.

Those who were given their first dose of the vaccine in Phase 1 of the island's vaccination rollout should expect their second dose between five and seven weeks later.

Islanders who are over 50 or in an at-risk group who were given their first dose over five weeks ago will be contacted in the coming days for an appointment to receive their second jab.

Anyone in either of those two groups who has not received their first dose is encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible, with islanders awaiting their second dose being encouraged to attend appointments 'without delay'.

The Island's Deputy Medical Officer for Health says the new variant has shown to be more transmissible and infecting younger people than previous strains.

Dr Muscat added that his team will continue with its genome sequencing programme to ensure that they can identify any different strains or variants within the island.