Covid vaccination chief Patricia Donnelly steps down after 3.8m jabs over 18 months

The departing head of NI’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, Patricia Donnelly, has thanked everyone involved in delivering almost 3.8 million jabs across the Province.

By Philip Bradfield
Friday, 1st April 2022, 5:32 pm
Updated Friday, 1st April 2022, 5:34 pm

As of Thursday, a total of 3.8m vaccines have been administered in NI. A total of 1.4m people had had their first dose and 1.3m their second dose, with 20,603 third doses also administered.

Stepping down from the role after 18 months, Patricia Donnelly recognised all those who have been integral to the vaccination programme including Health Trusts, GPs, community pharmacies, as well as colleagues in the Department of Health, Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board.

Ms Donnelly said: “The vaccination programme has required a super-human effort from all involved. From getting the vaccine to the right place, giving jabs in vaccination centres, pharmacies and GP practices, or making sure people know where and when to go for a vaccine.

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Patricia Donnelly is stepping down as Head of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

“To the teams of vaccinators, administrative staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months – thank you. Your commitment and dedication has been truly remarkable. This was a team effort and it has been a huge honour to be involved.

“From the outset we have known that every jab counts and it is thanks to you that there have been many lives saved, and far, far fewer people seriously ill in hospital due to covid. You should be very proud of the role you have played.”

Speaking to the public, Ms Donnelly said: “Thank you for rolling up your sleeves and helping to protect yourselves and those around you from this terrible disease. However we’re not at the finish line just yet. I’ve made plenty of appeals to the public in the past 18 months but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for one more - please come forward for your jabs.

“It’s vital that everyone in the 75 plus age group and those who have severely weakened immune systems come forward for their spring booster. I would again encourage everyone who is eligible for their booster to get it without delay. Vaccination clinics are still running across Northern Ireland and people are still coming forward for boosters as well as first and second doses. It’s not too late to get protected.”

Patricia was a clinical psychologist by profession and held a number of key positions at Trust level before retiring. Her contribution to the health service will continue by chairing the HSC Clinical Ethics Forum and the NI Bereavement Network.

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