Roll-out of Covid-19 boosters to NI care homes gets underway

Health Minister Robin Swann has welcomed the roll-out of the Covid-19 booster jab programme in Northern Ireland.

Health Trust vaccinator teams are bringing the boosters to care home residents and staff as part of a planned programme.

The minister said 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.

“I very much welcome the fact that vaccinator teams are providing vital vaccine booster doses to care home residents and staff," said Robin Swann.

“This will give added and important protection for some of the most vulnerable people in our society as we head towards winter."

The Health Department said the wider booster dose programme will begin in October for those eligible.

It said this will include frontline health and social care staff, adults aged 50 or over, all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

Meanwhile vaccinator teams will be start visiting schools from October onwards, following the decision to offer a single vaccine dose to children aged 12 to 15.

“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," continued Robin Swann.

“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."