A MAJOR extension of Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been announced. The programme will continue to be based on a twin track approach, with responsibilities divided between GP practices and the seven regional vaccination centres run by health trusts.
The extension sees 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 vaccine 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.
The plans help maintain momentum in the vaccination programme, bringing protection to more and more people in the coming weeks.
* GPs will be making vaccination available to more medically vulnerable people and their carers. This includes people aged 18 plus who have underlying medical conditions but who did not receive a shielding letter. This extended target group is expected to largely mirror those who receive the winter flu vaccine each year because of their medical conditions. There is no need to contact your GP as they will invite people based on their vaccine supply. This phase of the programme will take several weeks to complete, so please be patient. GPs will also remain focussed on completing vaccinations for the 70 plus age group.
* In parallel, carers aged 50 to 64 will also 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. Please respect the 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.
* Vaccination centres will continue to take bookings for those aged 65 to 69 and for those who have received a shielding letter because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to the virus.
* In addition, 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 book an appointment online go to: https://covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated(external link opens in a new window / tab) Anyone who cannot book online can phone 0300 200 7813. The phone line is open Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 5.30pm. The phone lines are under considerable pressure and queues are long please be patient.
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.