Responding to the announcement, Mrs Cameron said:
‘‘This is a welcome step forward and reflects fresh recommendations published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Booster and third vaccines offer a new line of defence against the deadly effects of Covid-19. The more people that are ultimately able to receive this protection, the better and longer-lasting the benefits will be for families and households in every corner of our Province.
I have seen first-hand the success of walk-in and pop-up clinics toward encouraging vaccine uptake among those who are hardest to reach in our community. It is positive that the Minister has committed to providing these opportunities to those eligible for the booster as well as for 12-17-year-olds. This will be critical as Northern Ireland seeks to play catch up with other UK regions in terms of the roll out of this vital protection.’’
DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Deborah Erskine, who is also a member of the Health Committee, added:
‘‘The number of booster doses administered in Northern Ireland has now passed the 200,000 mark. While every jab is an important step forward, there is now a need for the roll-out to move rapidly, particularly as we approach the winter months and the extreme seasonal pressures facing our health service.
We also need to avoid a postcode lottery in who can access to the booster. Patients should not have to travel further to receive their jab, as has been the case in some parts of England. There needs to be good communication between GP practices and patients about when they can expect to be called forward.’’