A third coronavirus vaccine could be available for use in Northern Ireland in several weeks, as the first doses of the jab are administered in the UK.
The US-based Moderna vaccine has begun to be rolled out, with Wales the first UK nation to administer the jab on Wednesday morning.
It follows the UK government’s vaccines minister confirming that the vaccine would be deployed widely “around the third week of April”.
Scotland received its first batches of the Moderna vaccine on Monday but is yet to use them, while Northern Ireland is yet to begin its rollout.
The UK has committed to buying 17million doses of Moderna - which was supported by singer Dolly Parton - with the Barnett formula deciding how many each devolved nation receives.
Northern Ireland will receive 2.85% of the total amount of vaccine available - around 484,500 doses.
Northern Ireland is currently utilising the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs as part of the vaccination programme.
More than 31 million first doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in the UK, according to official data, while more than five million second doses have been given out.
According to the most recent Department of Health figures from Northern Ireland from Wednesday, 958,783 vaccines have been administered.
Some 790,860 of those are first doses, while 167,923 are second doses.
Similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs which are already in use, the Moderna jab is given in two doses, several weeks apart.
The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose jab given at an interval of between four and 12 weeks.
Like the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, it is an RNA vaccine and works by injecting part of the virus's genetic code into the body, where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens.
These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.
No actual virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine, meaning the rate at which it can be produced is accelerated.
The Moderna vaccine requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping - similar to a normal freezer. It should mean that the vaccine is easier to store and transport
Trial results show that the protection offered by the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 was 94.1% against the disease and 100% against severe cases of Covid-19.
More than 30,000 people in the US took part in the trial, from a wide range of age groups and ethnic backgrounds.
A further four vaccines are either in clinical trials or awaiting approval by the UK’s medical authority – the Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA).
These include the Novavax, Janssen and Valneva vaccines. It is not yet known when these vaccines will be available.
The Department of Health has been contacted.