Unvaccinated Islanders ‘14 times more likely to be hospitalised’

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UNVACCINATED Islanders were up to 14 times more likely to be hospitalised – and 30 times more likely to end up in intensive care – during the third wave of the pandemic, according to data gathered last year.

A government report, released yesterday, contained information about Islanders over the age of 40 who were admitted to hospital with ‘clinical Covid’ between July and December.

People in this category were those treated primarily for the virus and who had tested positive either before, or within seven days of, their admission.

The results showed that people who were unvaccinated, or had only received a single jab, were up to 14 times more likely to be admitted to hospital and up to 30 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit than a person with two or more doses. The Delta variant was the most dominant strain in Jersey at the time.

Dr Ivan Muscat, deputy medical officer of health, said he hoped the data would encourage Islanders who had not yet been vaccinated to get their jab.

He said: ‘During the study period, by far and away the majority of [the] variants seen were all within the Delta group. Delta is more likely to affect the lower airways and more likely to cause severe disease than Omicron.

‘The report has demonstrated the effect that vaccination has in our community and has helped to make the benefits of vaccination immediate and tangible for the people of Jersey. I sincerely hope that it will encourage those who have not yet embarked upon [getting their] vaccination to do so.’

This is the first time that data relating to the vaccination status of hospitalised Islanders has been released, as there had been concerns about patient confidentiality.

Health Minister Richard Renouf said: ‘Being able to publish this report while maintaining patient confidentiality has been extremely important. The purpose of the report is to answer how important the vaccine is in protecting Islanders from severe illness and from being admitted to ICU.

‘As the number of patients’ data used in this report is sufficient, we have been able to publish a report which is balanced in terms of data quality, transparency and patient confidentiality.’

He added: ‘The regularity of future updates on this will be based on how many patients have been admitted.

‘When there is only a small number of cases, this can lead to both unreliable information and the chance for small cohorts of patients to be easily identified.’

On Thursday, ministers agreed that Islanders who tested positive for Covid could leave isolation after five full days, provided they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12 and have registered two negative lateral-flow test results within at least 24 hours. Non-fully-vaccinated Islanders must isolate for seven full days but can then go out if they register a second negative lateral-flow test 24 hours after the first.

The number of active cases in the Island has dropped from a peak of 4,137 on 7 January to 2,506 yesterday.

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