Older and vulnerable individuals in Northern Ireland who are at high risk of infection will begin receiving Covid-19 boosters and flu vaccines starting Monday. The autumn booster programme was accelerated due to concerns about a new Covid variant. The goal of this expedited vaccine rollout is to enhance the protection for those most susceptible and minimize the impact on the healthcare system. The Public Health Agency (PHA) has emphasized that this is a precautionary measure to safeguard individuals.
Rachel Spiers, the immunization and vaccination programme manager at the PHA, asserts that Covid-19 and flu have not disappeared. She strongly encourages individuals to get vaccinated as it is the safest and most effective method to protect themselves, their family, and the community. Eligible individuals will be contacted by their GP or can visit a community pharmacy to receive the Covid-19 and flu vaccinations.
The eligible groups include adults aged 65 and over, individuals in clinical risk groups, care home residents, frontline healthcare and social care workers, carers, and individuals living with those who are immunosuppressed. Additionally, the flu vaccine will be offered to preschool children aged two and above, all primary and secondary school children up to and including year 12, and pregnant women.
This booster campaign comes as part of the ongoing effort in Northern Ireland to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and protect vulnerable populations. Getting vaccinated not only protects individuals from severe illness and hospitalization but also helps to reduce transmission in the community, ensuring the safety of everyone.
Public Health Agency (PHA) – Rachel Spiers, immunisation and vaccination programme manager