First And Deputy First Minister Repeat Vaccination Call

The First and deputy First Minister's have called on everyone to come forward and get their Covid vaccine and top up their protection with a booster when they are eligible.

The Minister's were speaking during a visit to Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre, where they met staff and members of the public.

First Minister, Paul Givan received his booster jab during the visit. Speaking after, he said: "I was pleased to receive my booster jab today, and commend all the staff at Lagan Valley Hospital, and across the health system for their work in rolling out the vaccination programme.

"Vaccination continues to be a key part of our fightback against the Coronavirus, particularly with the onset of the Omicron variant. I appreciate that people have lived under the shadow of COVID for a long time. It has disrupted all our lives in some way and, for many, it has had a devastating impact. While it's important to emphasise the wider public health guidance, vaccination offers the best protection against the virus from serious health implications and requiring critical care.

"Those coming through the doors of this vaccination centre join the growing majority of people who have chosen to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting the vaccine. Their individual effort helps to build the collective resistance to COVID right across society."
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The deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill added: "We all want an end to COVID, and the people receiving their vaccines and boosters today are part of that effort. Not only are they reducing their chances of catching the virus, they are helping to break the chains of transmission and keeping everyone safer as a result.

"The emergence of the Omicron variant has made it all the more important that people have the vital protection that vaccination offers us. It will help prevent serious disease and reduce the strain on our hospitals, which are already under real pressure.

"The vaccination effort has been monumental, and I applaud the health service staff and volunteers – both on the ground and behind the scenes – who have made it happen."

Head of the Northern Ireland Vaccination Programme, Patricia Donnelly said: "It's truly a testament to the dedication and hard work of our health care workers and volunteers that more than 3 million Covid vaccine doses have now been administered in Northern Ireland. This mammoth effort will undoubtedly have protected many people from serious illness and saved lives.

"In line with our plans, the booster programme has been significantly ramped up and will continue at pace into the New Year. By the end of January, we expect that everyone in Northern Ireland over the age of 18 will have been offered a Covid-19 vaccine booster.

"Getting vaccinated is the most important thing we can do to keep ourselves and those around us safe from this virus. If you haven't yet been vaccinated, or are eligible for the booster then our advice is clear – get booked for your jab as soon as possible, do not delay."

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