Swann hails ‘vital and central role’ of GPs in vaccination programmes

Health Minister Robin Swann has paid tribute to GP practices as their involvement in the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme is brought to a close.

Boosters will continue to be widely available from health trust vaccination centres and mobile clinics, and community pharmacies.

“The delivery of our vaccination programme has involved an unprecedented effort across the HSC system,” Mr Swann said.

GP practices have played an absolutely vital and central role, administering close to 1.4 million vaccine jabs in total, including over 530,000 booster doses.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann, in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings at Stormont

“While direct GP involvement in administering jabs is now concluded, GPs will continue to encourage their patients to get vaccinated and get boosted whenever they come in routine contact with them.”

He again encouraged those who have not come forward for their boosters or first or second doses to do so without delay.

“While we are continuing to make progress against the virus, we must not underestimate the risk it still poses for people and for our health service,” he continued.

“The evidence is very clear – getting all three jabs is the best way to protect yourself and others.

“Boosters and first and second jabs continue to be widely available at health trust vaccination centres, at localised trust pop-up clinics and at community pharmacies.

“While we want to keep giving citizens every opportunity to get their jabs, the current arrangements for adults cannot keep going indefinitely.

“The likelihood is that the trust vaccination centres will continue to be scaled back in terms of hours and opening days, as resources are increasingly directed towards localised pop-up clinics in different neighbourhoods.

“In terms of convenience and widespread availability going forward, there will not be a better time to get vaccinated than now.”

Meanwhile, four further people who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.

Another 4,622 confirmed cases of the virus have also been notified in the last 24-hour reporting period.

Yesterday morning, there were 337 Covid-19 inpatients in hospital, with 21 in intensive care.

New figures also show more than 180,000 people in the UK have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

A total of 180,662 deaths involving coronavirus have now been registered in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This includes all instances where Covid-19 has been mentioned on someone’s death certificate, either as a main cause of death or a contributory factor.

The 180,662 includes all deaths that had occurred in the UK up to January 21 and which had been registered by January 29.