by Q Radio News
Northern Ireland’s coronavirus vaccination programme is set to expand to those aged 40-44.
From noon, those in that age bracket will be able to book a jab.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Today’s extension of the vaccination programme will be very welcome news to people in this age group.
“Vaccination is by far our best defence against Covid-19 and is essential to our goal of getting Northern Ireland out of lockdown on a sustainable basis.”
From 12 noon today, people aged 40-44 will be able to book their #COVID19 vaccination appointments.— Department of Health (@healthdpt) April 8, 2021
More info ➡️ https://t.co/sBv9FipJqH
Book online ➡️ https://t.co/0Rizp8bKO6 pic.twitter.com/YQxg5ZQvNX
A spokesperson for the Department of Health says people making bookings are asked to be patient, as demand for appointments will be strong.
"The ongoing roll-out of the vaccination programme will continue to be dependent on the availability of vaccine supplies.
"Our progress to date would not have been possible without significant availability of AstraZeneca vaccines.
"The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) yesterday stated that the benefits of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh any potential risks for people aged 30 and over and for those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, irrespective of age.
"In line with JCVI advice, people in Northern Ireland aged 18-29 who do not have an underlying medical condition will be offered an alternative vaccine, when this is available.
"It is very important that everyone who has already had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine gets their second dose of the same vaccine, irrespective of age. The only exception is for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots with low platelet counts following their first dose."