Lives are being saved as a result of Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, the chief medical officer has said.
Speaking at a weekly Department of Health press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Dr Michael McBride said the roll-out of the vaccine is contributing to a decline in the number of hospital patients dying from Covid-19.
More than 500,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to 478,000 people so far and health officials have announced more appointment slots are being made available for people over 65 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
However, Patricia Donnelly, who heads up Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme, raised concerns that some groups of people are not taking up the offer for the jab.
In particular, she said younger women appear to be more hesitant about the vaccination amid concerns over fertility.
Health Minister Robin Swann hit out at organisations that have been handing out leaflets with false information about the vaccines.
Last week, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the World Health Organisation had said misinformation is putting “lives at risk” as a pro-life group in Northern Ireland has warned people against the Covid-19 vaccine.
Precious Life has produced a leaflet warning of the dangers of “rushed vaccines”, which says that anyone who receives one of the vaccines will “effectively be human guinea pigs”.
Mr Swann said: “We are aware of organisations going around and leafleting to try and detract from people actually taking the Covid vaccination.
“In regards to spreading false information, the World Health Organisation has actually commented on those leaflets and has actually said they will cost lives, so I make a public call to those organisations who are distributing those very dangerous leaflets, and those individuals, to cease and desist.
“Because if the World Health Organisation has assessed their information and the information they are now distributing throughout Northern Ireland, and their assessment is it will cost lives, I’ll ask them to consider their actions and the effect they will have.”