Beggs welcomes Covid-19 vaccine roll out and urges uptake

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has welcomed news of the Covid-19 vaccine roll out which is being led by GP practices and will enable prioritised at risk groups to be offered the protection by vaccination. In the interim, he advises the “community to follow the hands, face, space guidance until their GP works through the highest risk groups and are able to offer you a Covid-19 vaccine.”

Roy Beggs MLA continued, “I think it is wise to offer protection to our healthcare workers first given the risks they take on our behalf. This will also reduce the numbers of staff that might have to self-Isolate and would be unable to treat patients. There is clear evidence of the high risks of our elderly citizens in our residential and nursing homes and it is right that they have been offered early vaccinations. I am also aware that in NI, some local GP’s have already started inviting patients living in the community who are in the older vulnerable patients group for vaccinations.

We are very fortunate that we are part of the UK where the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was developed and our Government made an early commitment for 100m doses. This will mean a faster roll-out of offering vaccination than in many other countries. Your local GP practice should be in touch with you when they work down the list. Until then we should all protect protect ourselves by following the ‘Hands. Face. Space’ guidance.”

Robin Swann, UUP Health Minister added “The approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine means Northern Ireland GPs can begin the first phase of population vaccination from 4 January, starting with those aged 80 years and over. The programme will then be rolled out based on age and other clinical vulnerability factors. Prioritisation will be guided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The rate of progress will depend on the availability of the vaccine, in terms of both manufacture and supply.”

The Minister continued:

“NI is to follow the UK Expert Body in this area, namely “The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)”

1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3. all those 75 years of age and over
4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5. all those 65 years of age and over
6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
7. all those 60 years of age and over
8. all those 55 years of age and over
9. all those 50 years of age and over”


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