St Patrick’s Day arrangements for Covid-19 vaccination bookings

Anyone having difficulty getting a Covid-19 vaccination slot is urged to “be patient and keep trying”.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 7:59 am

The Northern Ireland Vaccination Programme is continuing at pace with the announcement earlier this week that anyone aged 50 or over can get a vaccination at a Trust vaccination centre.

The Department of Health has described interest as “extremely high” and has urged the public to be patient.

Patricia Donnelly, Head of the Vaccine Programme, said: “Everyone who is eligible for a vaccine will get one.

Patricia Donnelly, Head of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

“Experience has shown that with each new age cohort we get a spike in bookings. Please do not panic. If you cannot make an appointment today, please keep trying. New timeslots are being released each day through March and into April and you will get your vaccination.”

The telephone booking service will not be available today (Wednesday, March 17) but will resume on Thursday, March 18. The online booking service remains unaffected.

In addition to the Trust Centres, GPs are also now covering the 50 plus age range. This means people have the choice of being contacted by their GPs or booking themselves. GPs are also working hard delivering the second doses for older adults.

Vaccination centres are being migrated to AstraZeneca vaccine deployment for first doses, to maximise use of available Covid-19 vaccine supplies in Northern Ireland. That means that increasingly, the same vaccine will be provided by GPs and the centres. Anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine as a first dose will still receive the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose.

Patricia said: “Our vaccination programme is continuing at pace and at the end of March we will open the SSE Arena as a regional mass vaccination centre. That will be a significant move that will enable us to vaccinate a minimum of 4,000 building up to 8,000 people per day. In the meantime, please be patient, do not book multiple slots and do not be a no show.”

In addition to the SSE vaccination Centre, Trust Centres and GP practices will continue to administer vaccinations.