Northern Ireland spring Covid-19 booster campaign to get underway in a matter of weeks

Northern Ireland’s spring Covid booster campaign is set to get underway within a matter of weeks.

further dose of the vaccine is to be made available to over 75s, immunosuppressed over the age of 12 and care home residents.

Community pharmacies are due to administer the vaccine to care home residents, trusts will run clinics for immunocompromised patients and GP surgeries will run clinics for all patients over the age of 75.

While appointments have not yet opened to the public, they are to coincide with the same timetable across the UK.

Dr Alan Stout, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in Northern Ireland, said plans for the spring booster campaign are at an advanced stage.

He also said the public should not be concerned about waning immunity.

“Actually, we have been told that the next dose is very much precautionary,” he said.

“There has been a very small drop off in immunity, particularly in those groups that are included in the spring campaign but immunity isn’t just falling off the cliff.

“Certainly, we aren’t seeing a significant effect.

“The advice is that this dose should be administered six months after the last one and most of this group would have received their last dose in late October, early November, so six months would take us to late April and the start of May.”

Dr Stout said the public does not need to take any action and should wait until they receive an invitation to attend a vaccination clinic.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said: “Spring booster vaccinations in Northern Ireland are expected to be completed throughout April and May.

“The timing for these boosters reflects the UK-wide vaccination program advice issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.

“Under this guidance, the next boosters should be provided six months after the previous jab.

“The vast bulk of people who received boosters in Northern Ireland got them in late October, November and December, meaning April and May is the earliest they can get their next jabs.

“It is essential to appropriately manage the numbers being vaccinated to keep vaccine wastage to a minimum.

“Everyone who is eligible will be able to receive a second booster over the next two months, in line with the rest of the UK.”

The spring Covid booster program opened to the public in England on Monday, while the additional doses are already being rolled out in Scotland and Wales.

It comes as Northern Ireland recorded another 2,007 cases and one death linked to Covid-19.

There were 428 Covid-occupied beds in hospitals in Northern Ireland on Monday, up by 11 from last Monday, with five Covid patients in ICU.

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