Medically vulnerable adults who did not get a shielding letter and carers aged 60 to 64 can now book their coronavirus vaccines, say health chiefs.
The Department of Health announced the vaccine programme extension today, saying the jabs will be provided by both GPs and at seven regional Health Trust vaccination centres in line with their “twin track approach”.
To date over 438,708 coronavirus vaccines have now been administered in Northern Ireland.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I would really encourage anyone who is eligible for vaccination at a regional centre to book as soon as possible.
“The vaccination programme is making good progress and I am very pleased that we are able to announce these further extensions today.
“It had been planned to begin vaccinating carers in early March. I am delighted that we are now able to bring this forward, on a staggered basis.
“As ever, the rate of our progress through the eligible groups will depend on available supplies of vaccines.”
The latest extension will see the start of a major vaccination drive for carers, with GPs and the regional vaccination centres both playing their part. GPs will also be providing the jab to more people with underlying health conditions.
In addition, anyone over 70 who has not yet had their first dose from their GP will have the option to book a vaccination appointment at one of the seven regional centres.
Health bosses say the plans will help maintain momentum in the vaccination programme, bringing protection to more and more people in the coming weeks.
Here are the details
* GPs will be making vaccinations available to more medically vulnerable people and their carers. This will include people aged 18 plus who have underlying medical conditions but did not receive a shielding letter. This extended target group is expected to largely mirror those who receive the winter flu vaccine. There is no need to contact your GP as they will invite people to receive the vaccine based on supply. This phase will take several weeks to complete. GPs will also remain focussed on completing vaccinations for those 70 plus.
* Carers aged 60 to 64 now have the option of booking a vaccination at one of the seven regional centres. Booking will be available if you were born between 01/04/56 and 31/03/61 and are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit; are a registered care home Care Partner; are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you as carer fall ill. People are asked to respect these criteria when booking. Carers in lower age groups can be assured that we will expand the age eligibility as soon as possible in the coming days and weeks.
*The regional vaccination centres will also continue to take vaccination bookings for those aged 65 to 69 and those who have received a shielding letter because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV).
* Anyone aged 70 plus who has not yet had their vaccination from their GP now has the option of booking at a regional centre.
To make a vaccination centre appointment by phone, ring 0300 200 7813. The phone line is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
To make an appointment online, go to https://covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated
Social distancing and other Covid safety rules are strictly applied at vaccine centres.
It has also been revealed that people must get their first and second doses from the same provider – they must not try to “mix and match” between GPs and vaccination centres.
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