RESIDENTS in Newry, Mourne and Down can now check for themselves when they can expect to receive their vaccination against Covid 19.
The Department of Health has published the phased plan for NI’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
The Northern Ireland model for vaccine deployment has been designed to be pragmatic, agile and flexible.
As has been repeatedly emphasised, the rate of progress will be dependent on the availability of vaccines, supplied as part of UK-wide arrangements.
The deployment plans involve a mixture of delivery models which include:
large fixed regional vaccination sites run by HSC Trusts,
mobile Trust teams to visit care homes,
Primary Care based model.
The vaccines are received via Public Health England before being stored in a distribution hub. From there, the vaccine is delivered, as required, to Trust pharmacy sites or a GP practice.
It is also intended that community pharmacy will be involved as the programme continues to be rolled out, subject to the availability of sufficient supplies of a suitable vaccine.
The implementation of the vaccination programme will continue to closely follow the prioritisation list recommended by JCVI.
The Northern Ireland model for vaccine deployment has been designed to be pragmatic,
agile and flexible. Plans have been developed in partnership with Health and Social Care
bodies and in conjuncture with the Emergency Civil Contingencies Team to ensure the involvement of relevant Departments, Agencies, local councils and the Police. Teams of vaccinators have been trained from a range of professional backgrounds in addition to existing Health and Social Care (HSC) staff and primary care based staff.
In addition, 1,395 individuals submitted application forms to assist as vaccinators during the programme and these individuals will be used to supplement and support the Trust and GP vaccination
The deployment plans involves a mixture of delivery models which include;
mobile Trust teams to visit care homes, large fixed Trust vaccination sites, and a Primary Care based model.
The vaccines are received via Public Health England before being stored in a distribution hub. From there the vaccine is delivered, as required, to Trust pharmacy sites or a GP practice. It is also intended that community pharmacy will be involved as the programme continues to be rolled out, subject to the availability of sufficient supplies of a suitable vaccine.
The implementation of the vaccination programme will continue to closely follow the prioritisation list as recommended by JCVI and the initial focus of the programme in NI has been the JCVI number 1 priority group, care home residents and staff. Each of the 5 Trusts
has established mobile vaccination teams and each of these teams works closely with Trust pharmacy staff to ensure the Pfizer/BioTech vaccine can be safely and effectively deployed in a care home setting. It is intended that the mobile teams will visit all 483 care homes in
Northern Ireland to vaccinate residents and staff. The programme began on the 8 December and by 6 January the mobile teams had visited 91% of care homes and achieved uptake levels of 90%+ for residents and around 80% for staff.
The Trust vaccination sites also began on the 8 December and these have been running in parallel to the mobile teams operating in care homes. This has ensued vaccine wastage is kept to a minimum as excess vaccine not used by the mobile teams is administered at the vaccination centres.
The vaccination centres have been vaccinating HSCWs and initially they concentrated on the vaccination of frontline health and social care staff, starting with those working directly with patients at greatest risk or those staff considered to be at greatest risk. The aim of the programme is to:
To protect vulnerable patients and clients at higher risk of severe disease and
To protect staff working in high risk areas for exposure, and To protect staff members at highest personal risk of morbidity and mortality
There are 7 fixed Trust vaccination sites across NI and these are located at:
Belfast Trust – Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast
South Eastern Trust – Ulster Hospital, Dundonald
Southern Trust – South Lakes leisure centre, Craigavon
Northern Trust – Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena
Western Trust -
o Foyle Arena, Londonderry,
o Omagh Leisure Centre, Omagh; and
o Lakeside leisure centre, Enniskillen.
If required, the Trust vaccination centres will also be used to vaccinate members of the public in order to ensure the swift implementation of the programme.
The Primary Care based model started on the 4 January and involves 321 Practices spread right across Northern Ireland who will be inviting their patients in to receive a COVID-19
vaccine. Due to the logistics and strict handling conditions associated with the Pfizer/BioTech vaccine it was agreed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine would deployed in a GP setting. Due to the social distancing measures required the GP delivery phase will
involve a mixture of models ranging from clinics operating from a Practice, hiring of nearby
community halls or drive through arrangements in carparks. GPs will invite their patients in
for vaccination in line with the JCVI prioritisation list, starting with all those aged 80 years or
over, before working their way down through the age cohorts.