Almost a quarter of clinically extremely vulnerable people in Northern Ireland have now received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
ccording to official figures, 21,821 people here who were advised to shield have received a jab.
It comes as the Department of Health said it does not plan to follow officials in England who are extending the list of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people.
Yesterday, it emerged that an additional 1.7m people in England will be told to shield as the result of a new model which takes into account extra factors such as ethnicity, deprivation and weight to work out a person’s risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch Covid-19. It also looks at age, underlying health issues and prescribed medications.
However, a spokeswoman from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland said: “In Northern Ireland, the Shielded Persons List (SPL) was constructed by identifying people who had conditions that placed them at risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
“In addition to this, there has been scope to add individual patients where their attending clinicians – both GPs and hospital consultants – have assessed them as extremely vulnerable by virtue of a range of factors and underlying conditions.
“Further, throughout the pandemic, anyone with concerns about their own circumstances has been able discuss these with their GP or hospital clinician and, where appropriate, have been added to CEV list.”
A further nine Covid-19 deaths have been reported, while 341 new cases have been diagnosed.
Yesterday the Department of Health published a detailed breakdown of Northern Ireland’s vaccination numbers which shows that 438,708 vaccines have now been administered.
This comprises of 409,507 first doses and 29,201 second doses and includes 205,555 vaccines administered by GPs and 233,153 by the health trusts. According to the breakdown, 94% of over 80-year-olds, 75% of the 75 to 79 age group, 62% of the 65 to 69 age group and 23% of CEV people have been vaccinated.
Patricia Donnelly, head of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme, said: “Vaccination on this scale is unprecedented and was always going to be a marathon not a sprint.
“We need people to keep coming forward to get their jabs. If you are eligible to make an appointment at one of our regional vaccination centres, please book as soon as you can. Don’t delay on getting yourself protected.
“When we start our programme of second dose vaccinations, appointments for first doses will not be just as easy to obtain. If you are eligible, the best time to get booking is now.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I want to thank everyone involved in our vaccination programme at all levels. Yet again, our health service is stepping up to the mark for us all. Thanks to this work, hundreds of thousands of people now have better protection against Covid-19.
“We must maintain the good progress we have made – and that means people continuing to come forward when it’s their turn. Like many others, I’m patiently waiting my turn and when it comes, I won’t have to be asked twice.”