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One further Covid-related death as head of vaccine programme says large NI consignment delayed into next month

There has been one further Covid-related death reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Thursday).

That is according to the official dashboard.

The ABC Borough accounts for 284 deaths overall. Newry, Mourne and Down District has a total of 164 deaths. Mid-Ulster currently has 199.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 2,101.

There were a further 169 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 14 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, a further 19 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 23 in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 1,836 individuals were tested.

There are 167 – nine less than Tuesday – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 16 of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 42 people in hospitals in the Southern Trust area – 17 in Craigavon and 18 in Lurgan – being treated for Covid-19.

There are currently 25 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Vaccination appointments for first and second doses will continue to be honoured in Northern Ireland, said the head of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme Patricia Donnelly

“This month, we were due to receive two large consignments of the Astra Zeneca vaccine,” explained Ms Donnelly.

“The quantities involved would have been significantly over and above what we had originally expected. The first of these large consignments arrived last week and is playing its part in the current roll-out.

“We have now received confirmation that the second large consignment will be delayed into next month. Such changes to the supply schedule are to be expected and we have always been clear that the vaccination programme was subject to available supplies.

“The programme is actually currently ahead of schedule and we remain firmly on course to offer vaccines to the entire adult population by the summer.

“I also want to make clear that existing appointments for first and second doses will continue to be honoured and indeed that appointments remain available for booking. The advice to those who are eligible has not changed – get the jab.

“The delay with this particular consignment does have some implications for what would have been a further acceleration of the programme in April. We are planning mitigations to limit this impact, including further use of our Pfizer vaccine stocks. Everyone is asked to be patient – we will get to you.”

The vaccination centres are providing vaccines to: the 50 plus age group; anyone who received a shielding letter because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV); and anyone who is a main carer of an elderly or disabled person.

GPs are providing vaccines to: the 50 plus age group; anyone who received a shielding letter because they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV); carers; patients aged 18 and over who have underlying medical conditions. The latter Clinically Vulnerable (CV) group is expected to largely mirror those who receive the winter flu vaccine each year because of their medical conditions. CEV and CV individuals aged 16 and 17 years of age cannot receive the vaccine being used in GP practices. These individuals will receive a letter from their GP and are able to book a vaccination slot at one of the vaccination centres.

There is no need to contact your GP regarding vaccination – they will contact you as they work through their lists.

People wanting to book a vaccination centre appointment are asked to do so online if it all possible: https://vaccinations.covid-19.hscni.net/booking

If online booking is not possible, then the telephone booking number is 0300 200 7813.

The booking line is open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

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