This is a very rough and unverified transcript of the Isle of Man Government Press Conference conducted on Thursday 7th January 2021. In particular, for any legal guidance, you should seek advice from official sources.
You should not rely heavily upon it — it is transcribed by an automated speech recognition service, and I cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any local Manx words (especially in Gaelic) are more likely to be inaccurate. Also, the automated speech recognition service often converts the spoken words “Isle of Man” to “Ireland” or “all of man”.
Before relying or quoting anything contained here, you should verify it against the underlying audio recorded here. Time Stamps and automatically-generated speaker names should help in the verification.
Howard Quayle 0:00
Well, good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for joining us today. On day one of our circuit break lockdown. I would like to focus today in our vaccination programme. When I spoke with you at the start of this week, I talked about the priorities of the Council of Ministers, when we talked about making decisions. Clearly the number one priority is the protection of human life, the lives of our people. This is front and centre in all our decision making. It was when we locked down last time, and it is again this time. Last time it was difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. This time, there is an important difference. We have two vaccines that have been approved by regulators and two which we have access here on our island. The rollout of the vaccine has now to be our national priority. We will do everything in our power to ensure that this happens as quickly and effectively as possible. In a second, I will hand over to the Minister for health and social care who will take us through this detail in the details of the plan for the rollout of a vaccine and the current state of play. The minister will also update us on today’s testing figures. But just before he does, I do have to touch on some important points. Now this is not simply a matter of lining people up and sticking a needle in their arm. There are some real challenging challenges relating to storing handling and deploying the current vaccine. Some of these are logistical. But there are also regulatory and legal issues that are important. We need to get the balance absolutely right. The categories for our vaccine rollout are published on our website. We of course want all of this to go as speedily as possible to protect as many people as possible. There is a plan for rollout based on some clearly defined categories. This plan was based on solid clinical advice, and we believe this is the right approach. Let me Hand it over now to the minister to take you through some of this, David.
David Ashford 2:12
Thank you, Chief Minister. If I could first of all turn to the figures for today. The total tests undertaken now stands at 22,984. The number of tests that have been undertaken in the previous 24 hours is 345. Our total confirmed cases stands at 390, which is one new case since yesterday. And that case is a day one test from a returning resident. That means that we have active cases of 16, one of which remains in hospital. Turning now to our vaccination programme. And as the chief minister said, I’d like to give a longer form update on the vaccination programme and explain a bit more about us. So as people will be aware of vaccination programme is both a national priority and a priority for the department of health and social care. I can confirm that the vaccination programme is on schedule, as per our time scales and plans. And this week has seen 1141 individuals vaccinated in the first priority group. This is an increased number from the expected 975. As like all the jurisdictions we have found we can get six doses out of a vial rather than the expected five. We will be continuing over the next week, vaccinating 1141 per week over three days. Now some may ask why three days not seven. The decision has been taken to do the 1141 over three days of vaccination rather than spreading the 1141 over seven days. We have also to remember that this is a medical procedure. It is not a production line. There are medical protocols and procedures that must be adhered to. This is a brand new vaccine. And it is important that we ensure that operating practices are correct and that we deliver this in a safe way. That means we are learning on the ground as we go. That means we must constantly assess and change our protocols based on the actual experience the rollout itself, ensuring patient safety at all time. The Pfizer vaccine is a very complex vaccine. In fact, some have said to me that it’s the most complex that has ever had to be handled in this way. It is therefore essential that is handled with care in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations and clinical guidance. Those receiving the vaccine would expect nothing else. We have to remember at the moment we are only using the fossa vaccine, which logistically is much more challenging. From the process of defrosting, the trays having to use an entire tray at a time because they can’t be split. The storage requirements and even the mixing requirements all mean the care must be Taken. Once the Oxford vaccine comes on stream, we will be able to scale up further, as have a less logistical challenges with that vaccine. We also have to remember that the vaccines are a two dose vaccine. And it is important that we ensure that at all times, we have adequate stock in storage in our possession. To ensure that we can deliver the second dose when it is medically appropriate to do so, or not find we do not hold the stock to deliver people those crucial second doses, which is something I will come back to and touch on shortly.
David Ashford 5:36
It is also important for people to remember we receive our vaccine as a per head of population basis from the UK. As with other countries, we will receive our stock in staggered deliveries over the next nine months. It is important to remember, we do not receive all of our entitlements at once. In terms of timescales, I can confirm we are currently on course as planned to have vaccinated everyone in the 50s and above categories by the end of May, with the rest of the below 50 population vaccinated by the end of September. And that’s also in line with the delivery schedules that we will be receiving the vaccines. I can also confirm that we have now received our first tray of Oxford vaccine. However, we have not yet received the crown indemnity, or the protocols around use and delivery from the UK that are required in order to administer the vaccine. We hope that these will be imminent, after which once the protocols are clinically approved, we can start rolling out this second vaccine, which is much more mobile than the first with our priority for which use be in care home residence. And other query I know some of our media friends and some of the Joe weider. general public as well I’m interested in is I can confirm that we will be sticking with the manufacturer’s guidance in relation to the second doses of the vaccines. So I can confirm with the fossa vaccine. The second doses will be delivered 21 days after the first and in relation to Oxford. The second dose will be 28 days after the first our manufacturer indemnity requires us to work to the manufacturer’s recommendations. And after review by our clinical teams is the view of our clinical body that this is also the correct thing to do from a medical point of view. I know there have been many questions from people around where they fall in the vaccination programme, particularly those in other key working groups other than health and social care settings. As with all vaccination programmes, we follow the guidance of the Joint Committee on vaccination and immunisation, which is the professional body with the appropriate clinical experience to make guidance and recommendations around the priority groups for vaccine rollout. When it becomes your turn for the vaccine, you will receive a letter to be invited to come and be vaccinated, please be patient. It is important that we do this in a controlled and ordered manner. To be clear, the vaccination programme is designed to protect those most likely to suffer serious effects or life threatening effects of COVID-19 first, that is why it is essential we continue to roll out the vaccine in population cohort group order. The vaccination programme priority grouping is not based around if you’re likely to contract COVID but on who would suffer the most serious or life threatening effects should they contract it once again to confirm based on the current rollout, all those aged 50 and above, and those in the most vulnerable categories are expected to have been offered the opportunity to have a vaccine by the end of May. If our delivery schedules hold up as we expect they will, it will then be rolled out across the rest of the population from May to September in line with our delivery schedules. I emphasise again that we will be sticking to the priority groupings and that people will be written to uninvited when it is their turn. Can I also take the opportunity to publicly thank all those involved in the vaccination rollout. This is one of the biggest logistical challenges we have ever faced, and is the biggest vaccination programme in human history. So thank you to everyone involved, and also to all those who have come forward to offer to help. The letters for the over 18 category inviting them to come for their vaccination will start going out tomorrow. At this point, only those who can make their way to nobles are being invited. Further information will be sent to those that fall into this category and that are housebound, shortly. If you fall into this category, can I ask that you wait until receiving your letter before calling 111 to try and arrange an appointment? The letter will be on its way. Another question that has been raised is around patient transfers. I have explained at this podium before that this is not as easy Simple as it may appear, with the vaccine for effective affinity required to be a two dose vaccine delivered days apart. Also immunity is not instant. It takes several days after vaccination develop both after the first and second doses. The HSC has been working on the logistics of how we vaccinate patient transfers. And I can announce that for all those patients who are travelling to the UK in the next six to eight weeks initially, that already know of an appointment with immediate effects consultants who make referral to the UK and agree a patient transfer will now also be able to organise for the patient to be referred for a vaccine at the same time as the patient transfer referral is made. Once this is done, patients will be advised and can book their vaccine. It is important to stress that this needs to be clinically LED and a clinical decision as not all patients may due to their condition, be able to have the vaccine. A couple of other areas I want to touch on if I’m a chief minister. Firstly elective surgery, people will remember that we suspended elective surgery for a two day period in order to preserve bed capacity at nobles. This was reviewed clinically last night, and it has been operationally decided to extend the suspension for a further seven days. At the moment, the situation around any potential wider community spread of COVID-19, while looking optimistic, is still unknown. So at a time when the hospital is dealing with the normal annual winter pressures, it is important, we still ensure the bed capacity is there should we need it. I thank people for their patience on this. Also, the operational decision has been taken to suspend respite and de services for seven days. These services deal with individuals who are high risk to the virus exposure, and also are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. In settings where social distancing is impractical and impossible to police. There will be exceptions based on clinical judgement around cases where the lack of service provision will bring about severe detriment. At a time when we are still not certain around the possible transmission in the community. It is important we do all that we can to protect those individuals from any virus contraction, I need to be clear, we wish to keep this disruption to service users and families to a minimum and only like the last last lockdown. This is for seven days only at this time. And if the situation remains the same around community cases, then we will look to reopen services in seven days. Thank you, Chief Minister.
Howard Quayle 12:46
And thank you very much, David. And it’s great to hear the progress so far, and that we are ready for the next steps. And thank you to everyone working so hard on the vaccination programme. As you heard from the minister, there has been a large number of tests and I would like to pass on my thanks to the swabbing team and colleagues in the lab who have made this possible. It is encouraging to see that apart from old single day one test, which given the infection rate in the UK is to be expected. We have seen no additional positives at this stage. I do want to mention that we had some feedback that people would like us to present the test results in a way that more clearly separates results of the recent clusters from the more day to day everyday testing. We agree and we are working on that now. While the results are good news, I do need to underline the fact that this is only the start of a period of uncertainty. While we continue contact tracing and undertaking more testing to see the extent of any community spread. There are some way to go yet before we have a complete picture. At this point, I would like to hand over to our Director of Public Health for an update on this doctor.
Henrietta Ewart 14:04
Thank you, Chief Minister. Yes, as the Chief Minister and Minister Ashford said we have been doing extensive testing with large numbers have tests over the last few days in response to the cluster. And it’s extremely reassuring at this point to be able to say that the only positive in the last 24 hours was a day one travel. However, that really doesn’t mean to say we can relax yet, because we are not through the incubation periods for either cluster so far. So the message there is to everybody who was identified as a low risk contact. Please keep on self monitoring, please go on looking out for symptoms. And if you notice any, even if you think maybe they’re not worth reporting, please do report them please do contact COVID 111 and discuss them with the team there because they will be able to advise you whether a test is appropriate and we really Taking the approach that if you have been in any of those venues, any symptoms makes it worthwhile testing. The risk we have here is that there is still we still haven’t closed off all the potential transmission chains from these clusters. And that means there is a risk that it is getting further out into the community under the radar. So I would like to say to everybody on Island, even those who were nowhere near any of those venues, and certainly haven’t been identified as a high risk contact, still, please keep vigilant for the onset of any symptoms that could be COVID related. And if you notice anything, please contact 111 because it’s always possible that you could have been infected by someone who themselves remained completely asymptomatic. And so we wouldn’t be able to pick you up through the case finding and contact tracing done through the cluster investigations. So that’s just to remind everybody to stay vigilant and report symptoms, if they notice them. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 16:03
Thank you very much, Henrietta. And I know that the team have been working around the clock on this, so please pass on my fangs. And again, thank you to everyone who has come forward following our appeals over recent days, this is making a real difference. On the subject of making a difference. I would like to say something about our food retailers, they have yet again, gone above and beyond to support our island at this difficult time. A number of retailers now have in place are the dedicated shopping hours, or are giving priority access for the island’s elderly. And for those who are supporting the most vulnerable, I would ask everyone to support this. If you see elderly and vulnerable members of our community and those shopping for them, please allow them access to the front of the queues. If you see anyone wearing a high vis vest with department of health and social care, support worker on, they are helping the most vulnerable of our society this time. By allowing them access to the front of the queue, you will be helping a number of families who are unable to leave their homes during this lockdown. I mentioned yesterday the importance that our incredible community spirit will play in this new chapter. It is more important than ever to stay connected and look out for one another. Words like lockdown and isolation can make us feel that we are on our own. But we are not. If you or someone you know was struggling, then there are a lot of services out there that are still very much open for business. Our charitable sector was so important last spring and is again ready to help and most government run services are still available. Please do not hesitate to get in touch. So might be run differently or no longer face to face. But video or phone options are often available and the Help is still there. This very much includes emergency department and our mental health services. As we go through this circuit break period, please check in with your neighbours friends and family. Ask them Are you okay? These simple three words. Knowing that someone is out there can make a big difference to the way they are feeling. Whilst this is a difficult time. It is another chance for us to show how strong our community is on this island. There are a range of resources out there. You can start up the ru okay website, which you’ll find it are you oic.gov.im. You will also find their contact details for our partners at couth and quell. Both offer online mental health and well being support for children and adults. They can provide a safe place to discuss how you are feeling. Before I pause and take questions from the media. I want to pick up some queries which we have received from the public. We have asked parents to keep their children at home wherever possible, and as nursery playgroups and child minders to remain open only for those children who are designated as vulnerable or who are children of essential workers. A list of nurseries, playgroups, and child minders, who have remained open and have places available can be found on the registration and inspection unit section of gov.im. This will be updated on a daily basis on our civic amenity sites are those the although these have not been directed by government to close the relevant authorities have taken the decision to do so. This is so that appropriate measures to protect the public on their staff can be put in place. government is working with the Civic amenity sites so that they can reopen as soon as possible. The eastern and western civic amenity sites will reopen on the 15th of January. The northern civic community site is looking to open on the 20th of January, reintroducing its booking system. government is working with a southern civic amenity site to reinstate the one way road closure order, which was in place last year. And it is hoped that this will assist that site in being able to reopen. It is important to note that the islands bring bank network is still fully operational. And you can take glass cans and paper to these sites where they will be collected as normal. Finally, a reminder that Dentists have not been mandated to close. Although it is of course, a matter for individual practices, whether whether they operate or not. If you have an appointment over the next three weeks, please check with your dentist, and now to the media. And just to let you know that the education minister is here, Should you have any questions in that regard. And first, I have Simon Richardson from business 365. Good afternoon, Simon foster my
Simon Richardson 21:01
Good afternoon, Chief Minister, my first question to arrest today for COVID breaches so far, do you envisage higher levels of public disobedience the second time around?
Howard Quayle 21:13
I would hope not. I have heard about the two cases. But obviously, no detail yet. And even if there was detail, I wouldn’t be able to discuss them, I’m afraid because if they’re going to be prosecutions, then that’s between the police and the courts and the individuals concerned. But it’s disappointing to hear that there’s been two cases. But let’s just hope that that’s a temporary Blip. And we’ll get back to the fantastic compliance that we’ve seen from all sectors of our alum community.
Simon Richardson 21:44
And secondly, in terms of the Oxford vaccine once it starts being distributed. And Could you confirm if it’s so planned to get local pharmacies involved? Right. Well,
Howard Quayle 21:55
I’ll bring in the health minister who’s been working on this to give you an answer, Simon. Thank you.
David Ashford 22:02
Hi, Simon. Yes, we have been speaking with not just local pharmacies, but also the GPS. Because as I think I’ve said before, the Oxford vaccine is much more legit, logistically able to be moved around. So we are engaging with them. We need to get the final protocols in place. But we hope to have agreement that we can deliver at a primary care level for the Oxford vaccine.
Simon Richardson 22:25
Thank you very much.
Howard Quayle 22:26
Thank you very much, Simon. And now we move on to Helen McKenna from all of our newspapers,
Helen McKenna 22:33
gasoline ministers. So firstly, just to be clear, the lockdown is definitely not going to affect the vaccine rollouts.
David Ashford 22:41
No, it isn’t Helen. We have obviously, areas of high transmission such as the UK have a vaccine rollout. There’s appropriate PPA and infection control protocols being put in place, we will still be sticking with our plan. And we will still in the initial stages until we have access to Oxford when we can ramp up. B be doing the 1141 I think it is per week.
Helen McKenna 23:05
Okay. Secondly, how is the Isle of Man Airport’s vaccination plan, sorry, programme. Plans for the hub going
David Ashford 23:16
to in terms of that is again on track. As we’ve said, we’ll be using the hub for the later age groups for when people can travel that is online. That is all ready to go online when those age groups come available in February. Okay, thank you.
Howard Quayle 23:30
Thanks very much, Ellen. Now we move on to Alex Bell from BBC Isle of Man. Good afternoon, Alex. Yeah. Good
Alex Bell 23:36
afternoon. I’d like to ask a question of the health minister, please give him the hope we had on Monday with the vaccine programme beginning for the lockdown shock. It’s been a mixed week. And I think yesterday, people were fairly flabbergasted to hear that the vaccination programme has been effectively suspended till next week after just three days. Can you just run us through those logistical restraints that you listed? How do they affect the ability to give a vaccine for the other four days of the week?
David Ashford 24:06
The first thing to say Alex is that it was always the plan that at this stage it would roll out? Well, the first logistical challenge is when you d foster tre you’ve got to use as a whole with fossa. So that means that if we go over the 975, or as it is now, I think it’s about 1841 out of a tray, then basically you’ve got to use the whole of that second tray. So you’ve got to get people booked in, you’ve got to make sure they attend the appointments because you do have people who don’t attend. You also, though, have to review the clinical protocols. It’s all very well having a large document saying this is how you handle the vaccine. But you’ve got to remember you’re doing this in practice on the ground. So this is the first time this particular vaccine and each vaccine is unique has been handled. So we do have to pause after each time review our processes, make sure they are patient safe and appropriate. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. So the plan was always that with the phone vaccine and the logistics around that, that we would start off doing the one tray a week. And then from there when the Oxford one became available, we will be able to build up onto a higher roll out.
Alex Bell 25:11
Is that Is this not just a case of the Isle of Man not getting enough trays to meet demand?
David Ashford 25:15
Well, hang on, no, we get our share of trays. And just to put it into perspective, by this time next week, we’ll have vaccinated 2782 individuals. That’s the equivalent of just over I think on my mat, it’s 3.3% of the entire population. That’s the equivalent of the UK doing just over 2 million vaccines. At the moment. I think there’s I think there was a press report yesterday says they’ve delivered 1.3.
Alex Bell 25:38
So just to sort of reiterate, you don’t think that the vaccines can be rolled out any faster than they’re currently being?
David Ashford 25:45
No, because we cannot compromise patient safety and we cannot compromise clinical processes. As I said in the initial remarks, we’ve got to remember, this isn’t a production line. It’s a medical process. And it must be done in a safe fashion, with the clinicians happy that it is being done in that way. And we will be led by the medicine and the clinicians on this. We will not be that by just sheer rush of getting out. It is a national priority to get the vaccine rolled out. But that does have to be done in a clinically safe way. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 26:16
Right. Thank you very much, Alex. We now move on to Sam Turton from Jeff the mongoose. Good afternoon, Sam faster my
Sam Turton 26:24
Good afternoon, first of May. And with the vaccine rollout we’ve been inundated with people contact knows and in some instances criticise the media for our action towards this. I certainly not necessarily it is the right way forward. But the public have a view on this because we look around we see jersey rolling out quicker than we are and Guernsey are going down the same route. And it just seems to be a lack of urgency that people are seeing this and you know what, how is it you can really reassure people that this is the right way forward?
David Ashford 26:55
Well, our delivery schedules are no different to the Channel Islands. The difference one of the differences is his jersey has taken the decision that they are going to do a load of first doses and then they don’t have the gap of the 12 weeks. We are not going to do that with our clinicians don’t believe that is medically appropriate. The manufacturers as I said in their their guidance for us to actually have our manufacturer indemnity in place, we must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that is for fossa 21 days, and for Oxford 28 days, our clinicians believe that is medically appropriate. So we must ensure that we have appropriate stock in place for those second doses to be delivered. It will not slow us down anymore. I believe Jersey is saying at the moment that they will have all their over 15 done in April. Were saying by May.
Howard Quayle 27:45
I think it’s also important to point out that I think I read somewhere that the World Health Organisation do not recommend that you go for any bigger gap than the three week gap. So we are following World Health Organisation rules and regulations. Jersey have made their own decision along with the United Kingdom, but jersey and the United Kingdom are sadly in a far different situation than the Isle of Man finds itself in.
Sam Turton 28:11
Thank you. And secondly, it’s sort of the first point is just a bit of clarification. How many doses do we get of the Oxford vaccine. And then secondly, we’ve seen open Ramsey, for instance, Andy courier said about opening up vaccination hubs in say the ACO household there is that sort of thing that’s also being looked out when we can roll that out.
David Ashford 28:30
In terms of vaccination hubs, we do have to be very careful about the logistics of this. We are looking at different options around Whiting out particularly with the Oxford one, which like I say is much more transportable. We certainly couldn’t do that with the five sir. In terms of Oxford, they come in trays, but I think it’s 700 to a tray. And if you’re talking about our overall entitlements, I think it’s about 160,000 doses. So that’s enough for about 80,000 people. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 28:55
Thanks very much, Sam. Now we move on to Leann cook from three FM Good afternoon, Leon faster. My
Helen McKenna 29:03
Good afternoon. My first question is just for the health minister. I just wondered if any more information had been released on how long the COVID vaccinations lasts for, for example, how long someone is immune to Coronavirus after they’ve had both doses.
David Ashford 29:17
There is no science around that Liam because obviously it’s a new vaccine. So that will be trial and error. We don’t know yet. And I think the Director of Public Health I’ll bring him in in a minute to speak on this has previously said about it’s going to be a wait and see. In relay one of the things though it does give me an opportunity to say off the back of your question. Is that one of the things that was said particularly as the manufacturer, that there is that they they are concerned about the idea of spreading the the second dose out past 21 days, because in the words of the statement joint statement themselves and biontech who also developed the vaccine, they say there is no data to demonstrate the protection after the first dose is sustained. To 21 days. So it is important that we actually do this right. I know there is some trial data that shows that people who have had two doses of the vaccine actually see a higher antibody response than those who have actually had the disease. So that is quite encouraging. But how long that lasts, we don’t yet know. And I’ll bring the Director of Public Health and in case there’s anything further she wishes to add. Yes, there’s
Henrietta Ewart 30:23
not a lot to add there, really, because the Health Minister has given a comprehensive statement about the fact that we simply do not know how long protection lasts, because we haven’t had the time course, to run to see that. And obviously, that’s something that is being very closely monitored. And the advantage now is that we will be able to monitor it in the real world situation, which often gives different data to that that’s purely from a trial situation. The other point just to pick up on was I think your question said, How long does it give you immunity for, and we just need to unpack a bit what we might mean when we use the word immunity. What the vaccines do on the basis of the trial data that we have is protect the people who have been vaccinated from serious illness. We don’t know yet whether it protects them from infection. We will know that over the coming weeks and months as further data accrues. And some of the serological studies are done, to see whether people who have had the vaccine go on to, you know, develop a reaction that indicates that they’ve had a COVID infection, but that’s going to take time to accrue. So we just have to be a little bit careful about being clear what it is we know about these vaccines.
Unknown Speaker 31:37
Okay, thank you.
Howard Quayle 31:39
Thank you very much, Liam. Right, next we have Paul Moulton from Isle of Man television. Good afternoon, Paul foster my
Unknown Speaker 31:47
Paul Moulton 31:49
Chiquita minister, it’s really third day, but I think Can you clarify exactly what he said there about? You’ve got the Oxford vaccine, but you haven’t got the paperwork signed off? If that’s the case, could you’ve not previously signed off the paperwork? Do you have to wait until it actually arrived. And this is what’s causing people and it’s certainly failures out there. people worried that this can be done quickly. As we’ve already heard from other journalists,
David Ashford 32:10
Paul, we can’t sign off something we haven’t got. And we haven’t seen the protocols around the use of the vaccine has to come from the manufacturer and come through the UK. And they have not been passed to us yet. We we do not have the crown indemnity either in place, which is required, as we discussed around the focus of vaccine before we can do the rollout, as soon as we get those, and we hope they are them. And then our clinical team will review as with the last one with the focus of vaccine, they were signed off within days of us receiving the paperwork.
Paul Moulton 32:41
So you are getting sign off in the UK, whereas when the UK gets its vaccine, it gets signed off from somebody else’s. I don’t have the other credit policies done the same thing. Well, they also just left it. They’ve just gone straight for the giving out
David Ashford 32:53
what we’re in jerseys case, I don’t know about this case with Guernsey, but I know in jerseys case certainly was five. So they decided to go ahead without the crowd believe without the crown deputy in the protocols in place. But that was a decision for them. There is definitely a risk around that. Because you’re not can’t be certain you’re handling it in line with the protocols. And you also obviously are not indemnified for anything that you do. But obviously, as the Chief Ministers have said, they are in a very different situation to us. We are we take the view that it is very important from a clinical point of view, that we ensure everything is correct. And everything is appropriate. We are a crown dependency on government in our own right, which means our clinical teams when the protocols arrive, need to sign them off, including, for instance, the medical director, that can be done very quickly once we receive it. But obviously we can’t sign something off. We haven’t been seen.
Paul Moulton 33:41
And your indemnity is against the UK Government, is it?
David Ashford 33:44
Yes. So the UK government provides indemnity so that if in a very unlikely circumstances, anything does go wrong, they will indemnify
Paul Moulton 33:53
and they’re willing to do that
David Ashford 33:54
at some point. Yes. Yeah. I mean, that was an offer from the UK Government. It is in place for the five star vaccine, we are simply waiting for the crown indemnity around the Oxford to ensure that it is correct. And it is legally appropriate
Paul Moulton 34:08
to the other 80s,
Unknown Speaker 34:09
how many people we’re talking about here in that age group that will be getting these letters. So if you bear with me, Paul, I’ll tell
David Ashford 34:15
you, exactly in relation to the over those over 80 over 80 years of age and over. I thought it might be an approximate figure, but it looks like it’s exact. It’s 4397. That’s a lot of people. It’s a lot of people. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 34:31
Yeah, but we will get it done very quickly. It’s also worth pointing out Paul regarding the indemnification that if it’s proven that you haven’t followed the rules and regulations should you have a problem in the future, then you will then be open to not receiving you know, having the indemnification is just like any insurance policy. If you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have done, as part of rolling out this vaccination process, it’s okay rushing in to be seen to be ahead for a few days. But if halfway through the process, you find that you’ve done something wrong. A, you the vaccine might have to be redone in some cases, which I’m sure will happen in other places be you may no longer be indemnified if something goes wrong. So I do believe it’s really important we get this right. And in a very short period of time, we will have probably overtaken per capita, the United Kingdom anyway. So I’m confident that we have got this right. Thanks very much, Paul. We will now move on to Tim Glover from Manx radio Good afternoon, Tim faster, my
Tim Glover 35:33
faster my, you’ve obviously asked the banks public to lock down again, and like other media organisations, it’s all about the speed of the vaccine rollout. So I’m not gonna go but Oh, Graham, but they’re saying it’s got the urgency of civic amenities sites and getting set up to reopen. In their view. Would it be worth being really transparent as we are with test results, etc. about vaccines having a table, it’s released daily, the number of vaccines given the number of vaccines on Island, the timetable and changes to it, to bring the public on board?
Howard Quayle 36:09
Absolutely. Tim, we’ve already said we’re gonna do that. I don’t know, David, if you want.
David Ashford 36:13
Yeah, we’ve already committed to publicly do that. And we will. And we will also be putting a lot of information in there in the coming days around the delivery schedule for vaccines as well. Okay, how long will that take? Sorry, and it will be in the next couple of days.
Tim Glover 36:29
And just on the current cases that we’ve got, have any people presented differently to the previous time we have cases, sick or later seems to be a theme? Oh,
David Ashford 36:43
can we bring the director public?
Henrietta Ewart 36:48
Yes, it’s very difficult to make a valid comparison, because small numbers always allow for variation just by chance. And also, we have a difference here in that we are clearer about timelines, when individuals were returning travellers, we know exactly what their movements were. And the fact that they would not have been exposed here, they’ve imported the case, when we had widespread transmission on Island, it was very difficult to be clear about the timelines for people. So we really can’t say anything meaningful about whether things look as if they’re different now than they were before. And I imagine some part of that question is actually tied up with are we seeing any differences in behaviour with the new variant? on that one, I can say at the moment, as we know, we haven’t had any of our genomic sequencing confirmed, it’ll be interesting to, to review when we do. And within public health circles and infectious disease circles, there are anecdotal suggestions that maybe it presents differently. Actually, in that case, it looks as if the symptoms start sooner rather than later, which is a bit different from what we think we’ve seen here in the last two clusters. But at this stage, that is just anecdote, it needs sufficient numbers and sufficient analysis to see whether that’s real or just a feeling that turns out to be not substantiated. Okay, thank
Tim Glover 38:16
you. Can I just get a clarification? I think the health minister said 1141. vaccinations given given but the comes government’s saying 1041.
Howard Quayle 38:29
Right, we’ll get the health minister back to common. Give the clarification.
Tim Glover 38:35
David Ashford 38:37
Yeah, I gave the exact figure in my speech. And the figure I’ve got in my speech, which was given to me by the department was 1141.
Howard Quayle 38:45
Yeah. Should there be any difference to that term? Obviously, if we put a press release out with 1041, then we will clarify that. But at the moment, it’s 1141.
Tim Glover 38:57
Thanks. Thank you.
Howard Quayle 38:58
We now move on to Josh Stokes. Last but not least at ITV, Granada. Good afternoon, Josh faster. My
Josh Stokes 39:03
Good afternoon, Chief Minister, my first question for the health minister, please. Like other representatives and media, I’ve had many queries regarding the vaccination programme. So first of all, do you plan to change the weekly or monthly targets for vaccinations given you’ve already exceeded your original targets of 935 per week, and the opposite vaccine is hopefully fast approaching, and you have an initial idea of what you’d like those projections to be?
David Ashford 39:25
Yep. So we will be scaling up as I said, with the Oxford vaccine. So the plan with the Oxford vaccine initially, it will be an add on top of the five so one, there’ll be an a tray of Oxford as well. So that’ll be 700. above where we are now. And then we’ll go from there. Basically, in terms of the focus of on the reason we’ve been able to exceed our targets, is that the the stated protocols originally said that you would get five doses out of the vial, we’ve actually managed to get to six, which is what has actually allowed us to deliver more.
Josh Stokes 39:57
Okay, and in terms of the Oxford vaccine, is there anything timeline as to when you hope to receive that vaccine on the island. Well, what
David Ashford 40:04
we’ve got the vaccine we’ve got the very first tray. As I stated in my speech, we’re waiting along the protocols and the cram indemnity from the UK. Once we have those, our clinical team will work swiftly, I’m sure to sign that off. And from there, we will start rolling out the Oxford vaccine. The first recipients will be the nursing home recipients because it is a lot more logistically easy to move the Oxford vaccine, and nursing home recipients obviously needs to be done on site.
Josh Stokes 40:28
Just any idea when that indemnity may be signed off in terms of timeline, but I hope that you’d like it to be signed off.
David Ashford 40:34
Well, if as expected, we receive it in the next few days from the UK, I would expect us to sign off within 48 to 72 hours later, assuming there’s not any issues with the protocols or the indemnity.
Josh Stokes 40:45
Okay, thank you. And my second question, and you’ve appealed volunteers to come forward to be trained to administer the vaccine. Can you just tell us a bit about what the uptake has been like on that?
David Ashford 40:54
Well, I can speak of the uptake of people who contacted me, I’ve had quite a lot of people come via me. There is an address. I’ll just put it out there. Again, a good opportunity. Thank you, Josh, that if anyone does wish to volunteer, the email address, they can contact his lead, le ad, Article dot i am. In terms of I believe we’ve had I think about 60 volunteers. I think, in total, I personally have had about 10 people contact me. But if anyone still wishes to volunteer, like I said, the email address is lead article.am. That’s le ad article.im.
Josh Stokes 41:30
And in terms of staffing, you’re happy at the moment with the amount of people you have ready to administer the vaccine.
David Ashford 41:34
Yes, we have it fully staffed up. And we have staffing ratios going all the way through to September.
Josh Stokes 41:42
Okay, thank you.
Howard Quayle 41:43
Thanks very much, Josh. And thank you all for your questions. Tomorrow, I hope to be joined by the Treasury minister, who will give you an update on work to support our businesses and our economy through the circuit break lockdown. Until then, thank you again for joining us. And thank you for everything you are doing. Please remember the basics. Stay at home as much as you possibly can. If you need to go out and wear a face covering as much as you possibly can. If you have any symptoms, then stay at home and call 111 as soon as you possibly can make the right decisions to keep you your family and your island safe to protect what we have achieved and this time to protect our vaccination programme. Stay safe, be responsible, and whenever you can, please stay at home. Thank you very much.