Today will see the completion of Phase I of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Gibraltar.
It is anticipated that by Friday night, over 12,800 people in Gibraltar will have received their first dose of vaccine through one of our two vaccination centres, or as a Gibraltar Health Authority in-patient or resident of Elderly Residential Services.
Confirmation has now been received from the UK that the next delivery of vaccines to Gibraltar is scheduled for Saturday 30th January, meaning that phase II of the GHA programme will commence on Sunday 31st January.
On this date we will start giving second doses of the vaccine to the first cohort of people, those who will have received their initial vaccine three weeks earlier.
The public are advised that once they have received the first Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the body will start to produce an immune response, but this takes time. Current evidence shows that up to 89% of people will have developed some immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 by the time of their second dose. The second dose is designed to both give longer immunity from the virus, and also to raise the immunity level to 95%.
Different people will develop immunity in response to the vaccine at different rates. It is also not yet known for certain whether people who have been vaccinated can still pass the virus to others. The GHA strongly advises that even those who have received their vaccine need to continue to help protect people who have not yet been vaccinated by staying home, wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.
Minister for Health and Care, The Hon Samantha Sacramento said: “The team from the GHA have done a truly remarkable job in giving the first dose of vaccine to so many people in just three weeks. It nothing short of incredible that in the space of 3 weeks we have given the first dose of vaccine to most people over 60 years of age, younger individuals with underlying health conditions, patients and residents from our health and care systems, health and care staff, other essential services personnel and key front line workers.”
“Second dose appointments will now be offered to people who have received their first dose. In the vast majority of cases this will be at the same time and on the same day as the original appointment, three weeks later. As an example, if someone was vaccinated at 11:00 on Monday 11th January, their next appointment will be at 11:00 on Monday 1st February.
It is critically important that people keep their appointments for the second dose to avoid wasting precious vaccine. It will not be possible to move appointments from one day to another, apart from in very exceptional circumstances, as their will not be any spare vaccine on other days as it has all been allocated.”
“Once the second doses have been given to our oldest and most vulnerable, the vaccination programme will continue to give second doses after 21 days, but also to give further first doses to the priority groups. This includes continuing to vaccinate the last few people in their 60s, remaining key workers, and people who have been unable to be vaccinated so far as they were either self-isolating or within 21 days of a positive COVID-19 test.”