Covid: NI vaccine rate six times higher than Republic

Northern Ireland’s vaccine figures continue to creep towards half-a-million, roughly six times higher than the Republic of Ireland’s.

Sunday, 21st February 2021, 7:16 pm
The News Letter's front page, February 28, 2020

However these deaths are part of a wider pattern of sharply falling fatality figures; for instance, the weekend of January 16 and 17 saw 49 coronavirus-linked deaths in the Province.

The total number of Northern Irish deaths which the Department of Health is linking to Covid-19 currently stands at 2,033.

Overwhelmingly, the bulk of those deaths have been in hospitals – 1,577, with almost all the rest being in care homes.

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This coming Saturday will mark a full year since the first Covid case was found in NI, on February 27 (the main UK-wide lockdown began on March 23).

As well as reporting three new deaths on Saturday and four on Sunday, the department also said that the number of people in the Province who had received their first shot of Covid vaccine stood at 446,009 (as of Saturday).

According to the Irish Times, as of February 17 a total of 197,609 people in the Republic of Ireland had received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine – an extremely low number compared to anywhere in the UK.

Since the Republic’s total population is just below the five million mark, that equals just around 4% of the total population.

The Republic recorded 26 deaths on Saturday linked to Covid.

However, whilst Northern Ireland is incomparably further ahead than the Republic of Ireland in terms of the vaccine roll-out, it is the least-advanced of the UK’s four nations, according to the latest figures:

• 446,009 people have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland –23.6% of the total population

• 1,431,942 people have received their first dose in Scotland –26.2% of the total population

• 14,844,087 people have received a first dose in England – 26.4% of the total population

• 860,083 people have received their first dose in Wales – 27.3% of the total population

All carers are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland.

Health Minister Robin Swann has opened the scheme to anyone who is the main support for the elderly and disabled. He urged them to book a jab online at one of the seven health trust centres.

Meanwhile, some primary school pupils will return to class on March 8.

P1 to P3 children will be the first to return for three weeks, with the impact of that on the pandemic to be watched closely.

The Executive is set to publish a road map out of lockdown on March 1.

On Thursday, ministers agreed some minor relaxations.

On March 8, the numbers able to gather outdoors will increase from six to 10, from no more than two households, and “click and collect” shopping is to be allowed from some outlets previously categorised as non-essential retailers.

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