When will you be able to get the coronavirus vaccine? Full roll-out timetable for Northern Ireland up to 2022 revealed

The full timetable for the expected roll out of the coronavirus vaccine in Northern Ireland to the entire population has been revealed.

By Niall Deeney
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 10:36 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 10:44 am

It was shared with the Stormont health committee on Thursday morning by Patricia Donnelly, the head of the coronavirus vaccination programme in Northern Ireland.

The roll-out will happen in five phases, she explained.

The first phase, as explained previously by the Health Minister Robin Swann and the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride, will include care home residents and staff, those aged 80-and-over, and health service staff.

Undated handout file photo issued by University of Oxford of research to develop a vaccine that could prevent people from getting Covid-19. The University of Oxford is expected to release data on the effectiveness of its coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks, with the latest trial results suggesting it produces a strong immune response in older adults. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 19, 2020. The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Vaccine. Photo credit should read: University of Oxford/PA Wire

Phase one will begin this month, and will cover approximately 200,000 people.

The next phase will begin in January or February, according to the timetable.

This group includes approximately 458,000 people and is made up of those aged over 65 and those aged younger than that who are considered either “extremely” or “moderately” vulnerable.

The next phase is slated for ‘spring 2020’ and will include those aged over 50 who have not already been vaccinated as part of phase one or two. Phase three will include approximately 366,000 people in Northern Ireland.

Vaccine roll-out timetable shared with Stormont health committee on Thursday morning, with estimated population sizes for each of the phases shown on the right

The next phase will cover everyone else as part of the mass vaccination plan and this is set to begin in “summer 2020”.

The final phase, five, will not begin until 2022 and will include a “routine vaccination” programme although who will be included in this has not yet been decided. It is possible the final phase will look similar to the seasonal flu vaccination programme already in place in Northern Ireland, with those considered most vulnerable offered immunisation by the NHS.

Patricia Donnelly, addressing MLAs on the health committee, said plans had already been worked on before the vaccines were granted approval by the UK regulatory authorities.

“Although, yesterday we did not know when the vaccines would get approval we knew that a vaccine and a series of vaccines would get approval,” she said.

“We worked on the basis that the UK had signed up for seven vaccines. We were aware that the first two vaccines were likely to arrive some time in December or early in the new year.”

Moving on to the slide with the expected timeframe for the roll-out to various groups, she said: “This is probably the most interesting slide — I know anyone when they see it starts to work out where they are on the phasing, and where the people they love are on the phasing.”

She added a note of caution, however, saying: “These are indicative timings — until we actually have received the vaccine into the actual stores in Belfast and are certain about the supply, none of this can be confirmed.

“But we planned on the basis that it would be available. We’ve got some indicative delivery information about the vaccine that we will have for distribution.”