Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the imminent decrease in the time between vaccine doses to a maximum of eight weeks, as the share of the population having received first doses approaches 80 per cent.
The Department of Health have confirmed the current gap will be reduced from 12 weeks, offering better protection against the Delta variant, as the protection against it increases to 80 per cent following a second dose.
“The initial plan to roll out first doses to as many people as possible worked well in bringing down infection rates and hospitalisations earlier this year,” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.
“However, as the number having received the first dose approaches 80 per cent of the entire adult population, it makes sense now to focus on getting people, particularly in the age groups most susceptible to sickness after becoming infected, fully vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“I would emphasise full vaccination is essential – we are finding the risk of hospitalisation is greatly reduced after one dose but is markedly more so after both. With the uncertainty around variants, this message needs to be reinforced and reducing the gap between vaccines is a clear reinforcement.”