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DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has welcomed the news that the roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to care home residents will not be delayed.

Commenting after the Department of Health confirmed that obstacles to administering the vaccine in these settings would be overcome by mobile teams operating from the different Trust hubs, Mrs Cameron said:

‘‘This is a hugely significant and positive announcement which will be warmly received by care home residents and their loved ones. Other UK regions had announced this means of rolling out the vaccine to care homes last week, therefore it is welcome that Northern Ireland will now be able to take similar steps.

Having been at the coalface of the pandemic for so long and classed as a high priority for the vaccine by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) it would have been wrong if care home residents faced a further delay before receiving the protection they and their families so badly crave at this time.”

Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley added:

‘‘This is welcome move and I want to thank the Department and local health and social care trusts for ensuring that our duty of care to some of the most vulnerable in our society can be honoured through this vaccine.

As a society we have already asked so much of our NHS and care staff and it saddens us to have to ask even more of them. The hundreds of vaccinators and support staff leading this stage of the fightback against Covid-19 should be assured that through the actions they will lead in the coming days and weeks many lives will be saved.

With the imminent roll-out of the vaccine in our care homes comes renewed hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.’’