Northern Ireland to prepare Covid-19 vaccination booster programme

Further 375 cases of coronavirus reported in North with two people in ICU

A further 375 people in Northern Ireland have tested positive for Covid-19, the North's Department of Health said on Wednesday, as authorities outlined a vaccine booster programme.

The department said there were no additional deaths from the disease.

In the last week 1,852 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the North, compared with 1,159 in the previous seven days.

A total of 20 people with Covid-19 are currently receiving hospital treatment in the North, with two in intensive care.


On Wednesday the North’s chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride, appealed to people in the 18-29 age group to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Localised initiatives are under way in the North to encourage vaccine take-up among young people, including walk-in, mobile and pop-up vaccination clinics.

Dr McBride said vaccination was “all the more important” now the Delta variant was circulating in Northern Ireland in increasing numbers.

“I again urge younger people to get their jabs without delay, and would appeal to their parents to encourage them to do so,” he said. The right time to get the jab is right now, he added.

“As modelling information already in the public domain has indicated, we are facing the potential of a significant Covid-19 surge by the end of summer, if not sooner.

“We can limit this surge and the damage it may do through the actions we all take right now. First and foremost, this means getting fully vaccinated with both vaccine doses,” he said.

More than 2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the North, which includes 1,160,000 first doses and more than 860,000 second doses.

Approximately 50 per cent of those in the 18-29 age group have so far received a first dose.

Booster programme

Meanwhile health authorities in the North are to begin planning a Covid-19 booster vaccination programme which will maintain the protection given by first and second doses of the vaccine.

It is in accordance with interim advice issued by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which said on Wednesday that health authorities should plan to offer booster vaccines from September.

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Health, Robin Swann, said the booster programme would “provide additional protection for our most vulnerable and will help protect our health service ahead of the winter months.”

Dr McBride said that while the final advice could change, the instruction from the JCVI meant that “we can now plan and prepare so that our preparations are complete and our programme is ready to adapt and deliver in the autumn.”

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times