Professor Sir Michael McBride.
Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer has issued a 'Get Boosted Now' appeal to 120,000 people aged 50 plus who have yet to come forward for their booster jab.
Professor Sir Michael McBride emphasised that people in this age group are more at risk from COVID-19 than younger age groups.
Recently published NI statistics showed that unvaccinated individuals age 50 and over are almost 30 times as likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19, when compared to fully vaccinated individuals who have also received their booster or third dose.
The Chief Medical Officer said: “A booster jab provides vital protection, particularly against the threat of serious illness and hospitalisation from the virus.
“Of course, we want all adults to get boosted as soon as possible. Those who like myself who are 50 and over most definitely should be coming forward without any further delay. The 120,000 in this age group in NI who have not yet done so are taking an unnecessary risk of ending up in hospital.
“Please do not be distracted by commentary about whether or not the Omicron variant is less severe. It very much remains a nasty and vicious virus that is making some people very unwell, claiming lives and putting large numbers of people in hospital.
“Get boosted now for your own sake, the sake of your family and to help our health service and those working in it, who are under immense pressure at this time.
“The more of us who get boosted, the better we will be able to get through the current surge.”
It has never been easier to get your booster with plenty of available bookings and walk-ins available. For the small percentage of the population still unvaccinated, first and second doses are also available from Trust vaccination centres and participating pharmacies.
The head of NI’s vaccination programme Patricia Donnelly said: “We have unprecedented capacity available to provide boosters to everyone aged 18 and over. So far, close to 850,000 booster and third doses have been provided in NI. We need to maintain momentum – the slots are there for everyone to get vaccinated.
“Obviously, the Trust mass vaccination centres cannot keep going indefinitely, so please don’t hold back on the assumption they will always be there. The best and easiest time to get your booster is now.”
For latest opening times for Health Trust vaccination centres, check Trust websites.
Walk-ins are available but if you prefer to book, go to the HSCNI website.
To get instant information on Trust and pharmacy vaccination clinics closest to you, type in your postcode or town at this online location search.