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Sunday, February 28, 2021

91,954 vaccines already deployed in NI.

The Department would like to thank everyone involved with the vaccination programme for all their hard work to date.

This is a massive and long-term logistical undertaking that is progressing well. Our record to date compares very favourably with many of our European neighbours. There is, of course, much more work to be done and the programme will be scaled up rapidly as more vaccines become available.

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The latest figures show that overall 91,954 vaccines have been deployed in NI.

  • 68,664 have had a first dose (HSC staff and care home residents and staff)
  • 13,949 have received a second dose (mainly care homes where 55% of care homes have now had 2nd doses)
  • 9,341 already vaccinated by GPs
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It is important to stress that there are different strands of the vaccination programme.

* Our HSC Trusts are running seven regional vaccination centres, providing the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to health and social care staff and to care homes via mobile teams.

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From today, domiciliary care workers from the independent sector can receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccination centres. The phased programme will see dental, pharmacy and optometry teams being given access to the booking system shortly.

There has been some misunderstanding about “empty slots” in the booking schedule for these vaccination centres. These slots are only released shortly before they are available in order to be able to manage the inclusion of different staff groups on a phased basis and also to ensure there is adequate vaccine to cover all the slots. Slots can be filled at short notice if required.

There is no doubt that demand remains strong for the vaccine and this will continue to be met in a planned and phased manner. It is a constant process to manage the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which comes in large batches, in order to avoid unnecessary waste of this valuable product. It is normal to move sessions around to maximise the use of the vaccine – so staff will usually be contacted to confirm their sessions. Flexibility is essential.

* Alongside the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 regional vaccination centres, GPs are administering the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine to the general public. GPs across NI have received their first supplies, with those aged 80 plus first in line for their jab. This will be extended across the community, as supplies allow, with age and other clinical vulnerability factors determining the priority list.

We will all have to be patient as we await our turn. Please be assured that staff are working extremely hard to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, as supplies permit.

There will inevitably be frustrations along the way but everyone is urged to not take out these frustrations through ill-informed and unfair criticism of the work staff are doing.

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