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Department of Health to 'accelerate' Covid vaccinations

Over 65s to receive Pfizer vaccine from next week

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A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine (Nick Potts/PA)

A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine (Nick Potts/PA)

A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine (Nick Potts/PA)

The Department of Health has issued an update on Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme which includes plans to offer everyone over 65 a vaccine within the next five weeks.

A twin track approach will see both GP practices and the regional vaccination centres vaccinating people from prioritised groups, according to the Department.

This will cover everyone aged 65 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to Covid-19.

As well as completing the over 80 age group, GPs will also be vaccinating those aged 70-79 and many of those who are CEV.

Patients will be contacted by their GP practices for their jabs in the coming weeks.

Trust-run regional vaccination centres have started vaccinating those CEV patients who regularly attend hospital.

As GPs focus on the over 70 age group, the vaccination centres will offer vaccination appointments to over 65 year-olds.

These will be bookable online. Further details of the booking portal will be published later this week as well as the telephone helpline for those unable to use the online system.

All plans are subject to the availability of vaccine supplies from manufacturer and may be subject to change, the Department has said.

Patricia Donnelly, head of the vaccination programme, said: “Countries across the world are vying for supplies and, like everyone else around the world, we can only vaccinate people when we have vaccines.

“There will inevitably be ongoing frustrations – that’s unavoidable while stocks are limited. Please be assured that everyone involved in this programme is working flat out to get this done.

“Not all GPs can get through their priority lists at exactly the same speed. Patient populations are spread out differently, take-up rates can differ and other logistical challenges will undoubtedly arise.

“It may well be the case that someone a few years younger than you will get their jab a little bit earlier than you. Be assured that you won’t have long to wait for your turn," she added.


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