The Falkland Islands Government has received its second batch of Covid-19 vaccines, supplied by the UK government. These 2,200 doses arrived today via the South Atlantic Airbridge and are of the same Oxford/AstraZeneca type as the first batch received at the beginning of the month.
Since 8 February, a nationwide vaccination program has been in operation, delivered by the staff of the Falkland Islands’ only hospital, the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH).
Most vaccines have been administered at the ‘Stanley Vaccination Centre’ – a temporary facility housed in the Falkland Islands Defense Force headquarters – however, in addition to this, a mobile vaccination program has been in place to reach rural areas across West Falkland and the Outer Islands. The hospital’s Community Support Team has also been administering vaccinations for individuals receiving their support and care closer to home. To date, it has been possible to vaccinate over 1,732 individuals with their first dose.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Beccy Edwards, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has worked extremely hard to support our vaccination program, from staff at the KEMH, to the Falkland Islands Government Air Service, Falkland Islands Defense Force and numerous volunteers who have all come together to help us protect our population. We were very fortunate to receive our first batch and prioritized this accordingly and are currently working on plans to maximize the second batch so that we can protect as many people as possible.”
MLA Leona Roberts added: “It’s hard to express how much we appreciate the support that has been given to us by the UK government during this challenging time. Although our local health services work incredibly hard, we do not have the infrastructure or capacity to cope with a widespread outbreak of Covid-19, so when we received the news that a second batch of vaccines would be arriving it was very reassuring for us all. We also send our thoughts to our friends, across the UK and beyond, currently experiencing hardships due to Covid-19.”
His Excellency, Governor Nigel Phillips CBE, said: “Whilst securing the vaccine was a great outcome, it has to be effectively deployed. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the KEMH team on their excellent management of the first phase of the vaccination program. As I experienced myself, it was highly efficient. The efforts of the FIDF, FIGAS and all the volunteers were similarly top draw. With the arrival of the second batch of vaccine, we will be able to continue to push forward. Responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic is a whole of government effort, admirably supported once again by the community, BFSAI and agencies in the UK. I will repeat my thanks to all involved, whether that role be public facing or unseen; each contribution is equally important and appreciated.”
Arrangements are now being agreed for the next phase of the vaccination program following the arrival of the new batch, and these plans will be communicated once finalized.