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Four more Covid-related deaths as Minister says ‘we’re on our way to a million’ vaccines administered

'Every jab takes us further down the pathway towards a better and safer future'

There have been four further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Saturday).

According to the official dashboard, all four occurred in the past 24 hours.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 2,072.

Of those overall deaths, the ABC Borough accounts for 279; Newry, Mourne and Down District at 163; and Mid-Ulster with 194.

There were a further 172 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 13 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There was a further 10 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 12 in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 1,757 individuals were tested.

There are 226 – 16 less than yesterday – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 30 of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 24 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

The figures come on a weekend when Health Minister Robin Swann praised the work of all those involved in the Northern Ireland vaccination programme as the number of doses delivered rose to more than 600,000.

The latest running total shows 609,798 vaccines administered. Of these, 568,011 are first doses and 41,787 second doses.

The Minister said: “These figures, which are significantly ahead of schedule, represent the tremendous effort and dedication of our vaccination teams at Trust centres and GP practices across Northern Ireland.

“I know the huge amount of planning and hard work that has gone into delivering this highly complex programme and I want to thank all of our vaccinators, administrators and volunteers who are making this happen.

“Every jab takes us further down the pathway towards a better and safer future. We’re on our way to a million doses and very soon we will be rolling out the programme to all adults through the mass vaccination phase of the programme.”

Trust vaccination centres have this week begun vaccinating those aged 60 to 64, as well as carers who can continue to book though Trust carer co-ordinators and carers organisations who are facilitating bookings. To date 44,000 people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) have been vaccinated.

GP practices are also vaccinating carers who are known to GPs and they are also making good progress in the vaccination of people on their patient lists who are either CEV or clinically vulnerable to the virus. GPs will continue to call patients in for their jabs – you do not need to contact the practice.

Since the start of the vaccination, almost 123,000 health and social care staff have been vaccinated in Northern Ireland. This includes Trust employed staff and independent staff from the wider health and social care family. A more detailed data feed for the vaccination programme is being finalised.

Patricia Donnelly, head of the vaccination programme in Northern Ireland, commented: “This has been another outstanding week for our vaccination teams and with a good supply of vaccine to hand, we are moving forward at pace.

“I would urge all who are eligible but who have not stepped forward yet to make their appointments as soon as possible.

“In the coming weeks, community pharmacists will join the vaccination efforts, working in tandem with GPs and the regional vaccination centres to ensure the vaccine is even more accessible to people of all ages right across Northern Ireland.

“In addition, we will receive a boost in supplies of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which means we can use it in some of our regional vaccination centres, as well as in GP practices and pharmacies. This is very welcome news.”

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