Vaccine roll-out to scale back with more focus on local clinics

Mass vaccination centres introduced to offer coronavirus booster vaccination jabs to all adults are to be scaled back, the Department of Health at Stormont has confirmed.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 6:35 pm
Patricia Donnelly, Head of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme. 

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Patricia Donnelly, Head of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The focus will now be shifted to more local and mobile vaccination clinics, with health authorities urging the public to come forward for their jabs at one of the mass centres before they close.

Vaccination programme head Patricia Donnelly said: “The Trust vaccination centres are very convenient for many people and are generally open seven days a week for most of the day.

“They have played an absolutely vital role in getting jabs in arms. They work best as high volume hubs, when demand is at its peak.

“If these big centres suit you best, now is the best time to go — either for a walk-in jab or by making an appointment.”

She continued: “The centres still have a role, but it will be scaled back in a number of locations, as we spread capacity out more widely across Northern Ireland.

“That will include reduced opening hours and days of operation in some of the big centres.”

She added: “Experience tells us that localised clinics are very effective at reaching people who do not come forward straightaway.

“Trusts are therefore starting to shift resources towards local and mobile clinics. These will include locations where take-up for boosters has been lower, and also in high footfall settings such as shopping centres. While there will be more clinics, they will generally only be available at a particular location for a limited period of time.”

Ms Donnelly said the larger vaccine centres currently have “plenty of available capacity” and urged anyone still to get their booster to do so without further delay.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show 857,909 boosters administered in Northern Ireland.