Quarter of a million doses of Covid vaccine administered in Northern Ireland

Almost a quarter of a million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Northern Ireland.

NHS staff prepare to administer a Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. In Northern Ireland, those in the 65-69 year old age category are being offered Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines
NHS staff prepare to administer a Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. In Northern Ireland, those in the 65-69 year old age category are being offered Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines

Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann told the Assembly that, as of Sunday, 246,421 doses had been administered, comprising 221,809 first doses and 24,612 second doses.

Those aged 70 and over are receiving the AstraZeneca jab from their GPs while those aged 65 and over are invited to book an appointment at one of seven regional vaccination centres for the Pfizer vaccination.

“Most people aged 80 years and over should now have been invited to receive their first dose or have been advised they can expect to receive the vaccine,” he told MLAs.

He said the vaccination of priority groups one and two, care home residents and staff, and those aged over 80 and frontline health workers, have “largely been completed”.

The GP programme is currently working through priority groups three and four, including those aged 70-79 and those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.

Mr Swann described wastage levels as less than 0.5%, much lower than normal vaccination programmes.

He added that the rollout of the vaccination programme is dependent on a steady supply of vaccine.

Mr Swann said there are “very few people” missing their appointments to receive the jab, but said where any vaccine is approaching the end of its shelf life, a small cohort of health and social care workers are being called to receive their second dose.

Meanwhile Mr Swann said he expects a joint announcement with Education Minister Peter Weir to be made around special school staff around the jab to be made either later on Monday or Tuesday.