| 1.4°C Belfast

NI care home residents to receive Covid-19 vaccination 'in days'


NI’s Health Minister Robin Swann

NI’s Health Minister Robin Swann

NI’s Health Minister Robin Swann

Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed that care home residents will receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the coming days as they have been prioritised in the first phase of the vaccination programme.

Vaccinators will receive their first injections today as part of the programme.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in the UK on December 2, with the first consignment arriving in Northern Ireland two days later.

Mr Swann said that while the country can look forward to 2021 with optimism, it must be stressed that the vaccination of the population will take "many months" to complete.

It was feared that the vaccination rollout for care homes would not begin until the start of January as the characteristics of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab meant that it was not suitable for use on Northern Ireland's 16,000 care home residents.

Announcing the news that care homes would be prioritised in the first phase, Health Minister Swann said the original deployment issues have been resolved by using mobile teams in each of the five health trusts.

"When it comes to clinical prioritisation, we will be closely guided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)," stated Mr Swann. "It has identified care home residents as a top priority group.

"It is well documented that the logistical requirements for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine pose particular challenges for care home deployment.

"We have been working very hard on these issues, in consultation with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) "

He continued: "I am pleased to be able to confirm that we are satisfied that deployment to care homes can now proceed in the coming days.

"The solution involves mobile teams operating from the different trust vaccination centres located across the province.

"I know confirmation of these plans will be very welcome news for care home residents, their families and staff."

Belfast Telegraph