Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann has told colleagues at the Department of Health and officials at the Health and Social Care Board that “a long list” of pharmacies in the country will deliver Covid booster jabs in the coming weeks.
In a meeting on Monday, Mr Swann, pictured at the National Pharmacy Association's centenary dinner in Belfast last month, said he had been assured that 210,000 doses of the vaccine earmarked for boosters have been ordered by GP practices and insisted “many more will follow as GPs continue to invite eligible patients in for their boosters".
“In addition, a long list of participating pharmacies across Northern Ireland will be providing booster jabs to those aged 50 or over,” he said. The HSCB listed 244 pharmacies in Northern Ireland that will provide booster jabs.
Mr Swann urged people aged 50 and over who have had their first and second doses at least six months ago to contact a community pharmacy and book an appointment.
“A number of pharmacies will also be providing walk-in booster dose opportunities,” he said. “We are therefore offering a choice for the 50-plus age group - get invited in by your GP for your booster or arrange it yourself through a community pharmacy.”
Mr Swann added: “The booster jab programme will provide vital and timely protection to individuals this winter. I expect to see a rapidly increasing number of people getting these jabs.”
He said he had asked the DH “to keep different deployment options for booster doses on the table” with a challenging winter lying ahead for vaccinating teams who continue to administer first and second doses, booster jabs and flu vaccinations.
He also insisted nearly 90 per cent of the country’s adult population had received a first dose.