The Department of Health has confirmed that Northern Ireland has surpassed another COVID-19 vaccine milestone with around 70% of the adult population here now having received both doses. The latest vaccine figures are available on the NI COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard https://covid-19.hscni.net/
Welcoming the achievement, just eight months after the very first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Northern Ireland, Minister Swann, said: “Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme has been an outstanding success to date and has helped us take significant strides towards the more normal life that we all want to see return.
“Rolling out the vaccination programme has required a huge amount of hard work and dedication so to all involved please accept my sincere gratitude. I appreciate the long hours you have worked to ensure that we could give the people of Northern Ireland protection from this virus.
“For all those who have already come forward for vaccination, thank you. You have helped play your part in getting us to where we are. You have helped to protect yourself, those around you and our health service.”
While acknowledging the success of the programme, the Health Minister also outlined the need for a concerted drive to increase vaccine take-up rates even further in coming days: “We have all seen cases rise over recent weeks and we are now also beginning to see hospitalisations increase too – albeit at a lower rate, thanks to the effectiveness of our vaccination programme. If we can make a concerted effort to increase vaccine uptake in the next week or so, this can help make a decisive difference, in terms of preventing serious illness and hospitalisations.
“Our regional vaccination centres are closing for first doses in less than seven days so please if you’re not vaccinated, make it your priority to get a first dose as soon as you can.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “Make no mistake about it – this is a life-saving vaccination programme. There are many people alive here today because they have been vaccinated. This virus is not going away and increasingly the only way we all get back to doing more of the things we want to do is for more of the population to be vaccinated.”
Head of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Northern Ireland, Patricia Donnelly, said: “We are very pleased with the success of the programme but we do not take these milestone for granted. There has been a lot of hard work and determination behind this programme and we know we are not at the finish line yet. Uptake in the older age groups has been exceptional but only 56% of our under 30s have come forward to date. We do not want this age group to miss out. Time is running out in vaccination centres for first doses so if you have not already come forward, then please do so soon.
“Earlier this week we also announced that those young people who turn 18 on or before 31 October 2021 will be able to get vaccinated. If you’re in this group then you can simply go to one of the regional vaccination centres or if you prefer you will shortly be able to make an appointment using the online system.”