South Lake Leisure Centre
THE Department of Health has confirmed where those living in the Southern Trust will have to go to in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
As was reported in the Ulster Gazette this week, South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon will be the location for the local roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Northern Ireland.
In total seven sites across Northern Ireland will be used to distribute the vaccine. The others include the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, the Ulster Hospital (South Eastern Trust), Seven Towers Leisure Centre in Ballymena (Northern Trust), and the Foyle Arena in Londonderry, Omagh Leisure Centre and Lakeside Leisure Centre in Enniskellen (South Eastern Trust).
It comes as the initial phase of the roll-out of the vaccination programme began today. Sister Joanna Sloan - who will head up the vaccine roll out in Belfast - received the first jab just after 8am at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
The programme represents an unprecedented logistical exercise that will take many months to complete. Progress will depend on available supply across the UK and is dependent on production and delivery schedules. The timescale for the approval of further vaccines will be an important factor in the wider roll-out of the programme.
The process of determining clinical prioritisation is being closely guided by Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice.
Early deployment in Northern Ireland has three central aims:
The focus in the coming weeks will therefore include care home residents and staff (including supported living centres where the clinical risk is considered to be similar to a care home); health and social care staff working with patient groups at higher risk (including embedded support staff); staff working in higher risk settings; staff who are themselves at increased personal risk due to being in extremely vulnerable high risk categories or having other defined clinical risk factors.
In advance of the GP element of the programme starting, active consideration is being given to options for extending the programme to begin vaccinating over 80’s in the community.
Mobile vaccination teams operating from Trust centres will take the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes across Northern Ireland.
Trust staff are working closely with care homes to ensure that arrangements are as safe and effective as possible.
HSC Trusts will inform their staff who are in the early deployment groups and encourage them to book their vaccinations through a digital booking platform.
Anyone who is pregnant or breast feeding or who is planning to get pregnant in the next three months is not advised to get the vaccine.
The full roll-out of the vaccine is scheduled to continue until the summer of 2021. Further population groups will be added to the programme on a phased basis, with priority given to age and other clinical vulnerability factors.
Subject to the availability of a suitable vaccine, it is intended from early January 2021 to expand roll-out of the programme through primary care led vaccination clinics.