Covid: Vaccine boosters given in Northern Ireland in 10-12 days

Vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine prepared for injection.
Vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine prepared for injection.

Head of the NI vaccination programme has said a third jab will be offered to the elderly and vulnerable

Published

Booster Covid-19 jabs will start to be administered within 10-12 days in Northern Ireland, the head of region’s vaccination programme has said.

Patricia Donnelly said the rollout will start in care homes with staff and residents, before moving on to other priority groups including the elderly and those deemed vulnerable.

The head of Northern Ireland's vaccination programme Patricia Donnelly and Naresh Chada, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Northern Ireland's Department of Health.
The head of Northern Ireland's vaccination programme Patricia Donnelly and Naresh Chada, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Northern Ireland's Department of Health.

An estimated 900,000 people will receive the booster jab, six months after their last dose.

Ms Donnelly said the vaccine programme is also likely to start being offer to children aged 12 to 15 in schools from October.

“There will be a very structured consent process, as indeed there is for any childhood vaccination programme,” she added.

Northern Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Naresh Chada said the booster jabs will provide an “extra addition to their immunity … going into the winter with a greater level of protection”.

He added that vaccination “shouldn’t be seen as a magic bullet for reducing transmission in schools”.

“It’s one of a number of measures but it is an important measure because one of the things that has been under consideration particularly by the chief medical officers was how Covid-19 had impacted on education, and of course it has severely impacted the life chances for children as well as other public health issues and mental health,” he said.

“So the vaccination of children in the 12-15-year-old age group will be seen to be assisting that process.”