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East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has called on the Health Minister to explain the reduction in numbers of vaccinations over recent weeks in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Campbell said "Reassurance today that we remain on course in relation to vaccination of the adult population is welcome but some questions about the vaccination programme remain.

The Health Minister indicated almost two weeks ago there would be a significant increase in vaccine doses coming here during March and his Department has repeatedly said the return to more normal times depends on people abiding by the restrictions as well as the rate at which the wider population receives the vaccine.

The reality in terms of first doses is that while Northern Ireland several months ago had high figures, recent figures have been much lower. From the end of January to the end of February the average number of vaccines administered each week was around 70,000 but in the past week (after the Minister indicated he expected an increase) we have seen a fall to just over 40,000. We have now heard news of forthcoming reductions in vaccine doses in England which does add up to a confusing picture. People understand that absolute certainty cannot be given in these circumstances but as we move towards re - opening there needs to be greater clarity about :

1. Why there has been a reduction when an increase was assured, and
2. Will the promised increase materialise as fears will grow in some sections of the population that reduced vaccination levels may be seized upon by some political parties as yet another reason not to move to re - open"