Cameron backs ‘Big Jab Weekend’ campaign

DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has urged anyone aged 18 and over not to miss the last opportunity to get their first Covid-19 jab at one of Northern Ireland’s mass vaccination centres.

By Pam Cameron MLA

South Antrim

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Commenting after the Department of Health has announced plans for ‘Big Jab Weekend’ - starting on Saturday 21 August - in an effort to get as many people protected from COVID-19 as possible, Mrs Cameron said:

‘‘It is extremely encouraging that the Department of Health has decided to reopen our mass vaccination centres this weekend for walk-in first jabs across all adult groups. The success of pop-up clinics in recent weeks has demonstrated continued demand for the Covid-19 vaccine and it is important that opportunities to receive this protection remain freely available and flexible to the needs of our communities.

We must pay tribute to the efforts of our vaccination teams after nine months of dedicated work. There is understandably a desire to see these valued skills and resources redirected to scaling up routine services as well as acceptance that our mass centres cannot operate indefinitely. For this reason, I reiterate my call for those aged 18 or over who have not yet received their first vaccine to come forward this weekend. Getting your jab will never be easier and no appointment is needed.

The vaccination programme is already having a massive positive impact on hospital admissions and rate of serious illness from Covid-19. Lives have undoubtedly been saved. Whilst we will always respect personal choice, the jab offers a routemap to normality unrivalled by any other policy or restriction. It is the key to unlocking the door for many social events and interactions that we have longed for during the last eighteen months.

I am conscious that for many reasons it may not suit everyone to attend a mass vaccination centre this weekend. For them, other routes to receiving the vaccine are still available. Adults can book a Moderna vaccine first dose appointment at 48 participating community pharmacies. Walk-in pop-up clinics will also continue to offer opportunities for anyone aged 16 to get their dose.

I would urge anyone who has not yet availed of these targeted services to not delay taking this important step before the focus of the programme inevitably switches to booster jabs.’’

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