Northern Ireland’s seven regional vaccination centres will close for first dose COVID-19 vaccines this weekend.
Issuing a call out to anyone who is unvaccinated, the Health Minister Robin Swann, said: “Our vaccination centres have done a fantastic job in rolling-out the vaccination programme and will continue to administer second doses throughout August. However people will not be able to get a first dose jab at a vaccination centre after Saturday 31 July.
“If you haven’t already received your vaccine then I would urge you to come forward ahead of Saturday. Getting your jab will never be easier or more accessible than it is right now. You do not need an appointment. You can simply turn up and receive the vaccine. This applies to all adults and anyone who will turn 18 before 31 October.”
The Department of Health announced earlier this month that the regional vaccination centres will stand down later in the summer. This will enable redeployed staff to return back to the health service and will mean the SSE Arena and the leisure centres that have facilitated the vaccination programme will be able to resume their normal services.
The Health Minister added: “Our health service is now experiencing the outworking of the latest surge in COVID-19 cases with a marked increase in hospital admissions and an increase in demand for critical care. Placing this level of demand on our health service is not sustainable. It’s vital that people protect themselves by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”
While the vaccination programme in regional centres begins to scale back, community pharmacies will expand its programme with the addition of the Moderna vaccine. The new service will initially see 16 pharmacies offer Moderna with more pharmacies being added to the service on a rolling basis over the coming weeks. Details of the community pharmacies offering the Moderna vaccine are available on the Health and Care NI website.
Mobile vaccination teams will continue to visit towns and venues across Northern Ireland in addition to the increased offering by community pharmacies.
Work is ongoing by paediatricians across all Trusts to identify children and young aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions who will now be offered vaccination following the latest advice from JCVI. Details of where and when vaccinations will be issued to the household of each of the eligible children.
Special arrangements will also be put in place for the small number of 12-15 year olds in receipt of a letter from a GP or Trust who live with someone who is immunosuppressed.