On Air The Afternoon Show Alex Brindley | 3:00pm - 5:30pm

Pfizer BioNTech vaccinations to start on Island this month

Care home residents and staff to get it first

Health authorities say coronavirus vaccines will be supplied to the Isle of Man through the NHS supply chain. 

Questions remain over how they'll be administered, but it's understood a programme could get underway before the end of the year.

It comes as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the UK, with mass immunisation to begin next week for those most at risk.

Following the regulatory approval, Health Minister David Ashford confirmed his department is ready to deal with the logistics of rolling out the jabs.

It's despite criticism yesterday from some members of the House of Keys, which suggested other crown dependencies were further ahead in developing their vaccination programmes.

Mr Ashford, who wasn't at the sitting due to illness, has batted down these 'disappointing comments', insisting his department is prepared.

Exact details on the rollout remain scant though, but we do know vaccines will be available through the UK NHS.

We'll receive 0.1 per cent of those ordered by the UK. 

That's potentially 447,000 doses of the up to seven different vaccines on order, but DHSC member Ann Corlett MHK says it's unlikely that number will be needed.

Law are in place to allow supply and administration of jabs from dentists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, paramedics, and physiotherapists.

There are questions over where and when this will be done, but we know who'll get it first.

Like the UK, it will be care and residential home staff and residents.

Health workers, the elderly and critically vulnerable will also be at the front of the queue.

The Director of Public Health Henrietta Ewart has previously said it will take four to six months for this roll out to take place, with some being administered this month.

The Pfizer BioNtech vaccine also needs to be transported and stored at low temperatures.

To ensure a cold storage chain, a case has been devised with dry ice to store the vaccines, which will last for ten days at minus 20 degrees celsius.

Government has purchased a number of freezers in order to store the vaccine.

Central facilities in Jersey and Guernsey have been set aside for delivering the vaccines.

On Island, the DHSC is looking to engage with GPs to administer them on a regional basis.

More from Isle of Man News