THE vaccination centre at the SSE Arena is another step on the pathway to a better and safer future, the First Minister, deputy First Minister and Health Minister have said.
The Ministers were speaking at the launch of The SSE Arena as a regional vaccination centre.
The centre which opens this morning (Monday) is the latest element of the multi-faceted and complex vaccine programme which remains significantly ahead of schedule.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The opening of The SSE Arena as a regional vaccination centre is a significant milestone in the rollout of our vaccination programme. More than 726,000 adults have now received their first dose of the vaccine and the opening of the vaccination centre here will see that figure rise significantly in the coming weeks. I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get booked in, to help protect themselves, their families and our community.”
The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Seeing this centre in operation illustrates yet again the amazing efforts by all parts of the Health and Social Care family. Efforts not only to deliver the vaccination programme but in every aspect of their response to the pandemic, as they have worked tirelessly to care for and protect our people. We are all looking forward to brighter days and every jab helps takes us further down the pathway towards a better and safer future.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “We have already made huge inroads in delivering the vaccination to over half of our adult population in Northern Ireland. The opening of this centre will enable the programme to expand at an even quicker rate and I hope to announce very soon that I will be opening the programme to additional age cohorts to allow more of those eligible to book their vaccination.
"I am extremely proud of how the Northern Ireland vaccination programme is being delivered. I thank everyone involved not least all the staff and volunteers who are in charge of delivering the vaccine and keeping our population safe, but also to the management of the SSE Arena for helping to make this happen.”
The centre is currently vaccinating anyone aged 50 or over and slots are still available.
The Covid-19 vaccination Centre at The SSE Arena Belfast will operate alongside the other trust centres; GP practices; and the participating community pharmacies to deliver the vaccine to the Northern Ireland population.
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.
Those eligible also have the option of waiting for their GP to contact them to arrange their jab.
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.