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Health minister and chief medical officer urge uptake of Covid vaccine

Some 1,062,178 jabs have been administered so far in Northern Ireland where the over-40s have become the latest group to qualify.

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(Liam McBurney/PA)

(Liam McBurney/PA)

(Liam McBurney/PA)

Northern Ireland’s health minister and chief medical officer have urged all those eligible for a coronavirus vaccine to come forward without delay.

Robin Swann described vaccination as “our best defence and shield” against Covid-19.

He said more than 87% of those aged 50 and over are estimated have been vaccinated.

“It is essential that we maintain our momentum with the vaccination programme,” he said.

“Please get the jab when it’s your turn. Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.”

Currently all those aged 40 and over can book a jab.

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Dr Michael McBride urged all those who are eligible to come forward without delay.

“Although vaccine supplies are limited this month, there are some slots still available for booking, so do it now, it’s the right thing to do and I ask you not to delay,” he said.

“This is our passport to better times.”

Dr McBride said that while no medicine or vaccine is without risk, UK and EU regulators “have again confirmed they are safe and effective vaccines”.

“The benefits far outweigh any potential side effects for the vast majority of people,” he said.

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Dr Michael McBride receiving his first dose of vaccine (Liam McBurney/PA)

Dr Michael McBride receiving his first dose of vaccine (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Dr Michael McBride receiving his first dose of vaccine (Liam McBurney/PA)

“I believe vaccination has already saved hundreds of lives in Northern Ireland and it will save more.”

By Wednesday, the Department of Health said 1,062,178 vaccines had been administered in Northern Ireland – 838,049 first doses and 224,129 second doses.

So far Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs have been administered in Northern Ireland

Dr McBride said he expects to receive supplies of the Moderna vaccine next month.

“In the meantime, we have have secured additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine so that we can get on with our first doses and indeed second doses of that,” he said.


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