The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine boosters to NI’s care homes is underway, Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed.
Health Trust vaccinator teams are bringing the boosters to care home residents and staff in a planned programme. First doses will also be available for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated.
The wider NI booster dose programme will begin in October for those eligible. These include: frontline health and social care staff; all adults aged 50 years or over; all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19; adult carers; and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
The roll-out will be on phased basis, as the booster vaccine dose is to be offered no earlier than six months after receipt of the second dose.
GPs, Trusts and community pharmacies will all be involved in the booster programme.
In addition, vaccinator teams will be start visiting schools from October onwards, following the decision to offer a single vaccine dose to children aged 12-15.
The push to get first doses to more people will also continue. In the coming days, an expanded network of community pharmacies offering first doses will be announced.
The Health Minister stated: “I very much welcome the fact that vaccinator teams are providing vital vaccine booster doses to care home residents and staff.
“This will give added and important protection for some of the most vulnerable people in our society as we head towards winter.
“This latest phase of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme includes booster doses, school based vaccination, walk-in second dose clinics and the ongoing provision of first doses at a network of pharmacies.
“The significant benefits of vaccination are evident. It protects you and those close to you. While we have now introduced a booster dose for those vaccinated at the start of the programme, it isn’t too late for those who remain unvaccinated to take up the offer of vaccination. Please don’t delay in getting your first dose, your second dose and, of course, your booster if you are eligible.”