North’s first mass vaccination centre opens at SSE Arena in Belfast on Monday

Two further deaths and 116 Covid-19 cases reported in Northern Ireland

Vaccination centre will initially have the capacity to deliver 4,000 jabs per day, rising to a maximum of 8,000. File photograph: Getty

The North's first mass vaccination centre is due to open at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Monday.

It will initially have the capacity to deliver 4,000 jabs per day, rising to a maximum of 8,000.

As of Sunday 850,041 doses of vaccine have been administered in the North, which includes 726,589 first doses. A total of 10,088 people received their injections in the most recent 24-hour period.

The North's First Minister, Arlene Foster, received her first dose of the vaccine at the Castle Park Leisure Centre in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, on Saturday morning.

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Ms Foster, who was given the AstraZeneca vaccine, said she was "delighted to take my turn and get the vaccine today."

Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme, she said, was having “real results”, with “falling levels of infection in our over-60s and ... the number of active outbreaks in our care homes reducing well into single figures.”

“The more of us that get the vaccine, the quicker we will find our way out of this,” she said, adding that with the opening of the mass vaccination centre on Monday she would “encourage everyone who is eligible to step up and get booked in, to help protect themselves and their community.”

Cases

Meanwhile, Two more people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, the North's Department of Health reported on Sunday.

It brings the total number of fatalities recorded by the department to 2,111.

Two deaths were also reported on Saturday, bringing the total number of deaths in the North over the weekend to four.

It follows a three-day period last week when the North reported no coronavirus-related deaths for the first time since September.

In the past seven days there have been five deaths, compared to nine in the previous seven days.

As of midnight on Saturday 126 people with Covid-19 were receiving hospital treatment in Northern Ireland, with 15 in intensive care.

The figures show both the number of people in hospital with the virus and the number of new admissions is continuing to fall, with 34 Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital in the last seven days compared to 65 the week before.

However the number of new cases of the virus is remaining steady, with 116 people confirmed to have the virus in the most recent 24-hour period.

In the last week 1,061 new cases of the virus have been confirmed, with 1,062 in the previous seven days.

Across Northern Ireland the case rate per 100,000 people over the last seven days currently stands at 56.4. The highest rate of infection is in Mid-Ulster, where the figure is 128.1.

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times