It is hoped 1,900 people will receive their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine between February 8 and 12 in a mass vaccination programme. Everyone in the Islands over the age of 50 will be vaccinated in the first round. People under 50 will only be offered the vaccination if they have an underlying health condition or are in an 'at risk' occupation.
3,000 doses of the vaccine arrived in the Falklands on February 1, provided by the UK Government and a further bath of 2,200 vaccines is planned to arrive in a few weeks. The programme is split into nine priority groups beginning with 80-89-year-olds and finishing with the under 50-year-olds in qualifying occupations.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Edwards said: "We're not going to give anyone a vaccine if we don't think we can give them a second one. Front-facing occupations who come into contact with people straight off the plane will be prioritised; customs, immigration and hospitality staff. Then we will identify other occupations as we go through, we will work on that in due course to decide the prioritisation of the rest of the vaccination."
Most of the vaccinations will take place in the FIDF Hall in Stanley while a travelling service will visit West Falkland and the outer islands on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week. Those living in Camp on East Falkland are asked to drive to Stanley if possible.
The Falkland Islands two-phased approach has been developed by the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. It largely follows the approach recommended by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), with minor adjustments to suit local circumstances.
On the delivery of the vaccination, MLA Leona Roberts said: "It is important we put on record our gratitude to the British Government. They committed a number of months ago to support the Overseas Territories and they have come through on that. We always make the point we are part of the British family worldwide and that has been demonstrated here. I would like to put on record my thanks to the MOD for the safe delivery of this and the teams locally who have worked to ensure it got here in one piece".