The Covid-19 vaccination programme has now reached a milestone of over 500, 000 doses delivered to eligible people in Northern Ireland.
478,825 first doses and 31,345 second doses have now been administered.
Health Minister Robin Swann welcomed today’s landmark figure and praised the dedication of all involved in the vaccination programme: “On December 8 2020 we administered the first Covid- 19 vaccine in Northern Ireland and today only two months into 2021 we have passed the half million mark. That is a huge achievement that has been made possible by the collective effort of all the HSC system.
“Last week my Department increased vaccination bookings and opened up to all carers aged 18 and over in Northern Ireland. Feedback from the carer organisations indicates that a significant number of their members have taken up the offer and have already had the vaccine or have booked in the coming days. There are some carers who have not yet come forward or have not yet been able to book an appointment. My Department has put in place alternative arrangements via Trust carer co-ordinators and carers organisations who will facilitate bookings. Carers who are known to GPs are also being called forward by their GPs for vaccination.
“I am pleased to report that the regional vaccination centres are heavily booked for the next few weeks. I can also announce today that further vaccination appointments are being made available in the centres. These slots will be for those who are in the 65 plus age group and those who received a shielding letter because they are clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19.
“I would strongly encourage people in these two groups to book their appointments as soon as possible and to do so online if possible, to ease the pressure on the very busy telephone booking system.”
The Northern Ireland vaccination system is progressing under a twin track approach, involving the seven regional vaccination centres and GP practices.
GP vaccinations are now covering: 70 plus age group; carers who are on GP carers registers; those on their patient lists who are either clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable to the virus. GPs will call patients in for their jabs – you do not need to contact the practice.
Regional vaccination centres have meanwhile been providing booked vaccinations for: anyone aged 65 to 69; anyone aged 70 plus who prefers to receive their vaccination in a regional centre; carers, and anyone who has received a ‘shielding’ letter because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.
In line with the latest JCVI advice those with a learning disability will be called forward by GPs for vaccination, if they haven’t received it through the Trust.
The vaccination programme will continue to be expanded, as vaccine supplies increase. From April, the SSE Arena will be opened as a mass vaccination centre for Northern Ireland’s adult population aged 60 and under who have not yet received a vaccine via a Trust or their GP. In the coming months every adult will be offered a vaccine.
Please remember to only book a vaccine slot if you are eligible, do not make multiple bookings, you will automatically be booked for your second dose when your first appointment is confirmed.
If you cannot book online, the telephone booking number is 0300 200 7813. Please be patient when phoning to book.