Alliance Party Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said preparation should already be underway by the Department of Health to offer the booster vaccine to over-18s here.
The South Belfast MLA was speaking after it was announced the programme would be accelerated here, with walk-in jabs available for the over-30s over concerns due to the Omicron variant. The UK Government has announced all over-18s in England will be offered a third dose from this week.
“The UK Government’s announcement is another demonstration of why we have to get moving with the booster roll-out and ensure it is offered to every adult in Northern Ireland as soon as possible,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“Whilst I welcome the Department of Health has been able to open the booster programme to over-30s so quickly, this move should have been anticipated and preparation should already have been made to facilitate the vaccination of all over-18s. It is essential everyone has the maximum protection available before families get together this Christmas.
“We must have a renewed focus on regular testing, and a communications campaign to re-emphasise the need for face coverings and good ventilation. I would encourage anyone who wants to protect their loved ones over the holidays to get their booster and ensure they take a lateral flow test before going out socialising.
“We must all do what we can to protect each other and the health service.”