Crowds attend pop-up clinic ahead of free concert for the fully vaccinated as NI inches towards 90% takeup rate

Large numbers of people have attended a pop-up vaccination clinic at a popular music venue in Belfast, ahead of a free concert next weekend for those with both jabs.

By Niall Deeney
Saturday, 11th September 2021, 2:37 pm
Mobile vaccine clinic.

 Photograph by Declan Roughan / Press Eye
Mobile vaccine clinic. Photograph by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

The Limelight on Ormeau Avenue was the location for vaccination clinics on Saturday from 10am to 3pm and will play host to another pop-up clinic tomorrow 12 noon until 6pm.

The Limelight is co-owned by Shine, the company behind high profile Belsonic music events.

Shine is holding Emerge, a special thank you concert for music lovers, on Friday September 17.

The Emerge event, at Ormeau Park, will help promote awareness of vaccination. It is also an acknowledgement of the impact of the pandemic on younger people.

Joe Dougan from Shine said: “Demand for the event has been huge and all the tickets we released were snapped up within minutes. We have held some tickets back and the first 200 people who get jabbed at the Limelight each day this weekend will get a free ticket to Emerge at Ormeau Park.

“We are pleased to be playing our part in the vaccination programme. We see it as vital to a full and safe return of live music events.”

Admission to Emerge will depend on your vaccination status - you will need to have been fully vaccinated with both vaccine jabs - or have had one jab plus a negative lateral flow test.

“If you are planning to attend Emerge and haven’t had your vaccine yet - pop down to the Limelight this weekend and grab a jab,” Mr Dougan added.

The head of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme, Patricia Donnelly, said: “I am delighted that the Limelight has been added to our rolling programme of walk-in clinics.

“Offering jabs at such an iconic location will complement ongoing efforts to boost vaccine take-up.

“My sincere thanks go to the Limelight’s management for facilitating these weekend clinics.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride, meanwhile, told the BBC the initiative is “about bringing the vaccine to people”.

He added: “That’s what we’ve been doing with our mobile clinics and this is just a further example of that.

“Over 70% of people in our intensive care at present have not been vaccinated.

“Do the sums - do you really want to end up in intensive care in hospital, really sick?

“Or do you want to take a few minutes out of your day, come down and get the jab and get protection.”
He added: “I want everyone vaccinated. If we can get to 90% [takeup rate for those eligible for vaccination] that would be an achievement and we’re pushing close to that.”

The latest figures from the Department of Health show that a total of 2,489,473 vaccines have been administerd in Northern Ireland since the roll-out began.

Of that total, 1,296,830 were first doses and 1,192,643 were second doses.

With an eligible adult population of 1,454,000 people, along with an additional 45,000 16 and 17-year-olds, that represents a takeup rate of 87.8% for the adult age categories and 43% for the 16 and 17-year-old category.