By Rebecca Black, PA
Northern Ireland’s health minister, Robin Swann, has said he is looking forward to receiving his coronavirus vaccine as the rollout is expanded to all those aged 45 and over.
Mr Swann, age 49, said he will get his jab “very shortly”.
The vaccination programme was widened on Wednesday to include the 45-49 age group.
By Tuesday 872,751 vaccines had been administered in the region, 740,729 of which were first doses and 132,022 were second doses.
All those who are eligible can book to receive their jab at a vaccination centre or participating community pharmacy, as well as the option of waiting for their GP to contact them to arrange their jab.
Mr Swann said he would encourage everyone who is eligible to make arrangements as soon as possible.
“I have something of an interest to declare with today’s announcement as I fall into the 45-49 age group,” he said.
“I am looking forward to getting my jab very shortly.”
The minister added: “Vaccination is absolutely vital as we move forward out of this pandemic. Great work has been done at pace to progress the programme but we need to maintain that momentum.
“Whether you are in this latest age group, or one of the other eligible groups, please don’t delay in getting the vaccine. As we keep saying, the best time to book is now.”
First Minister Arlene Foster received her vaccine in Co Fermanagh last weekend.
Earlier this week saw the opening of a mass vaccination centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast as well as almost 350 community pharmacies joining the programme.
Booking where possible should be done online at: https://covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated
If online booking is not possible, then the telephone booking number is 0300 200 7813.