Coronavirus: Health chiefs reveal vaccine timeline in NI

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The Department of Health has published a detailed plan for delivering the Covid-19 vaccine in NI, which it calls "pragmatic, agile and flexible".

It has produced a timeline for when people should receive their vaccine.

Vaccination of older adults in care homes, those over 80, care home workers and health and social care staff began on 8 December.

Phase 2 which includes those over 70 years and the extremely clinically vulnerable should begin in February.

Summer 2021 should see a mass vaccination programme across Northern Ireland.

In a statement on Tuesday, the department said plans had been developed in partnership with Health and Social Care bodies and working with emergency teams as well as local councils and the police.

Teams of vaccinators have been trained from a range of professional backgrounds to support health care workers and an additional 1,395 volunteers will also join in.

Vaccines will be delivered by mobile teams to care homes and will also be made available in primary care settings and at seven large trust sites.

These are:

  • Belfast Trust - Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast;
  • South Eastern Trust - Ulster Hospital, Dundonald;
  • Southern Trust - South Lakes leisure centre, Craigavon;
  • Northern Trust - Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena;
  • Western Trust - Foyle Arena, Londonderry;
  • Omagh Leisure Centre, Omagh;
  • Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen.

If required, the trust vaccination centres will also be used to vaccinate members of the public.

A total of 321 GP practices across Northern Ireland have begun vaccinating their patients using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

GPs are offering clinics, using drive through car parks or working in community halls.

Patricia Donnelly, who heads up the Northern Ireland vaccination programme said she hoped that most people would be vaccinated by the start of the summer.

However she cautioned that the plans were dependent on delivery of the vaccines to Northern Ireland.

She added: "We haven't yet had the good flow through of the vaccine and all of the vaccine that we received earlier this month has now been allocated to general practice and delivered to most practices that have asked for it and indeed GPs are working their way through that."

Ms Donnelly said she expected Covid-19 to be around for "some time" and that there would have to be some kind of annual or bi-annual jab required.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionAbout 74,000 people in Northern Ireland - including 84-year-old John Grey - have received a Covid-19 vaccine

A total of 91,954 vaccines had been administered in Northern Ireland by Monday evening, according to the department of health.

Of those, 68,664 have had a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with 13,949 receiving a second.

A total of 9,341 people have received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to one set of data, Northern Ireland currently has the highest rate of vaccination doses administered per 100 people in the UK.

Figures put together by Our World in Data, which is a collaboration between Oxford University and an educational charity, says NI has given the vaccine to 4.86 people per 100, compared to the overall UK rate of 3.94.

That figure would also put Northern Ireland fourth highest among the all countries for which the site has obtained data.

Care workers in Northern Ireland who provide services to ill or elderly patients living at home can now book an appointment to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

The booking process opened on Monday and the jab is available immediately to health trust care workers and those employed in the independent sector.

Chief social worker Sean Holland encouraged care workers "to avail of the vaccine as soon as they can".

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