Students who have started university or returned to their studies in the UK when their second COVID-19 vaccination is due will still receive it thanks to the reciprocal health agreement between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom.
So far more than 70,000 doses have been given in the Island, a world leader in vaccination rollout in terms of the number of jabs given per head of population.
Residents aged 18 and over have recently been invited to register for their first dose, and are due to be offered appointments over the next two weeks.
Students planning to travel to the UK are reassured they can have their second jab there, and vice versa for those who receive their first vaccination in the UK before returning home.
The reciprocal health agreement means GP records can be shared, enabling students to receive doses in either jurisdiction. However in order to do so, students who are registered with a GP in the UK must register as a temporary resident with their local surgery in the Island, and those heading to university for the first time should register with a GP on arrival in the UK. This will ensure they receive the correct second dose if it is not given in the same place as the first.
Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said:
‘The reciprocal health agreement means that wherever students find themselves at the time of the second dose, they will be looked after. What’s really important is that students register with a GP practice wherever they are. Not only do we need this to see the medical record, but the vaccination programmes here and across draw from GP lists, and in the UK the GP might be giving the jab.’
David Ashford MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care, said:
‘I urge all students to register for a vaccination without delay, as we have slots for them at our vaccination hubs in the next week or two. We will give second doses to those who are still here in 12 weeks’ time, but no need to worry if they’re back in the UK by then - they should get their vaccine through their GP surgery.
‘There is a great deal of misinformation on social media and I urge anyone with concerns to check out the facts using verified sources of information, such as the official site of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which publishes data, hard evidence and scientific research in a straightforward and factual way.
‘The vaccines in use are proven to be safe and effective. I urge everyone to register for vaccination to protect themselves, their family and our community. Every jab in an arm helps prevent transmission of the virus and a return to a more normal way of life for us all.’
As the Island’s vaccination programme is set to switch to delivering second doses within the required timescales next month, anyone who registers after 10 May is likely to face a delay in their appointments. People who wish to register can do so online at covid19.gov.im/vaccinereg or by calling 111.
Vaccination details are uploaded to personal medical records so receiving both doses could be invaluable should vaccine passports be developed in the UK and Europe.