Gibraltar’s vaccination programme against the virus that causes COVID-19 has now entered its final phase. As at Sunday 18th April, 35,901 people have received their first dose of the vaccine in Gibraltar with 30,811 people having received both doses, making a total of 66,712 vaccinations given through the three vaccination centres at ERS, St Bernard’s Hospital and the public vaccination centre at the ICC.
The St Bernard’s vaccination unit closed at the end of March, and the ERS unit completed vaccinating their last few remaining staff and patients last week. The public vaccination centre at the ICC has now reduced its operating days to 2-3 per week prior to its closing altogether towards the end of May.
Two further small batches of vaccine are expected to be delivered from the UK via the RAF, one next week, and then what is currently anticipated to be the final delivery in early May. The ICC vaccination centre is now focussing on category 9 people – cross-frontier workers, and is currently giving the remaining first doses before switching to giving only second doses prior to closing on May 27th.
As the remaining number of doses of vaccine are now limited, anyone who has not been vaccinated who wishes to receive the vaccine MUST register their interest using the on-line form at www.gha.gi/registration-for-gibraltar-residents or www.gha.gi/registration-for-cross-frontier-workers or by phone on 200 66966 before the end of Friday 23rd April 2021. There is no guarantee that anyone who does not register before this date will be able to access the vaccine in Gibraltar in the foreseeable future. Special arrangements are however being made for students returning to Gibraltar in May/June, but these people must also register at www.gha.gi/university-students-register-of-interest-form to ensure we reserve vaccine for them. Anyone who has postponed having their second dose of the vaccine is also reminded that they need to book an appointment for this before mid-May, or a second dose will not be possible.
A number of enquiries have been made to the GHA about vaccinating children. At this stage, the Pfizer vaccine is only licenced to be given to people aged 16 and over, but clinical trials on under 16s are currently underway. If these trials recommend giving the vaccine to children, arrangements will be made to vaccinate in Gibraltar through a schools based programme for which we would hope to receive a further supply of vaccine from the UK.
The Hon Samantha Sacramento, Minister for Health and Care said, “As I walked down Main Street on Saturday and saw life in Gibraltar almost back to normal, it really brought home to me just how successful “Operation Freedom”, the GHA’s vaccination programme has been. The vast majority of people living or working in Gibraltar have now received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the latest research shows that 95% of these people will therefore have circulating antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“All of us that have benefited from this amazing programme need to sincerely thank everyone involved – the UK Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office for ensuring that Gibraltar had the vaccine; Public Health England for their advice and support on the vaccination programme; the Royal Air Force, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Royal Gibraltar Police for all their logistical and security support in getting the vaccine to the right place at the right time; Mr Solomon Macias for generously donating the space at the ICC to use as the vaccination centre for four months, and of course all at “Team GHA” for their astonishing administrative, logistical and clinical expertise in vaccinating every member of the population who wanted the vaccine in just over three months. I am incredibly proud of everything that has been achieved with our vaccination programme in Gibraltar, and the way in which we have been able to protect our population”.