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The Department of Health has detailed ambition COVID-19 vaccination plans in Northern Ireland, as the country looks to offer everyone over 65 a vaccine by the end of February.

This spells good news for Northern Ireland mobility retailers because over-65s are a key demographic for mobility stores as certain elderly people require mobility aids, such as powered wheelchairs, rollators and bathing equipment.

In Northern Ireland, mobility dealers are deemed ‘essential’, so for stores choosing to stay open during the lockdown, the expanded vaccination rollout could see more elderly customers return to their shops.

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The Department of Health says its vaccination programme has been successful so far with a twin-track approach now being initiated – with both GP practices and the regional vaccination centres vaccinating members of the public from prioritised groups, in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

With the focus on protecting those most at risk from the virus, this expansion of the programme will cover everyone aged 65 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

As well as completing the 80-plus age group, GPs will also be vaccinating those aged 70-79, as well as a large proportion of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, the government says. Patients will be contacted by their GP practices for their jabs in the coming weeks.

The Department of Health has confirmed that the role of the seven regional vaccination centres in Northern Ireland will also be expanded within the next week to begin vaccinating members of the public.

As GPs focus on the 70 plus age group, the vaccination centres will in parallel offer vaccination appointments to 65-69 year-olds.

However, the department says that its current vaccination plans are subject to the availability of vaccine supplies from manufacturers, adding that the plans “may therefore be subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.”

It says that to date, the vaccination rollout programme has in “large part” proceeded according to plan. It adds that under current schedule, there are sufficient supplies of the Astra Zeneca vaccine to ensure that GPs will be able to provide first dose vaccines in February to everyone in the 70 plus age bracket and make a significant contribution to vaccinating people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

“By the end of February, the vaccination centres should similarly have provided first dose Pfizer vaccines to 65-69 year-olds as well as those clinically extremely vulnerable patients who are frequent hospital attenders,” the department continues.

The vaccination centres will also be beginning to offer second doses to health and social care staff who had their first Pfizer doses before Christmas.

Patricia Donnelly, Head of the Vaccination Programme for Northern Ireland, said: “Countries across the world are vying for supplies and, like everyone else around the world, we can only vaccinate people when we have vaccines. There will inevitably be ongoing frustrations – that’s unavoidable while stocks are limited. Please be assured that everyone involved in this programme is working flat out to get this done.

“Not all GPs can get through their priority lists at exactly the same speed. Patient populations are spread out differently, take-up rates can differ and other logistical challenges will undoubtedly arise. It may well be the case that someone a few years younger than you will get their jab a little bit earlier than you. Be assured that you won’t have long to wait for your turn.

“Don’t contact your GP practice – wait for them to contact you by text, phone or letter.”

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https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/vaccination.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/vaccination.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Sarah SarsbyGovernment & Local AuthoritiesNewsroomRetailer NewsSector NewsTrade NewsCOVID-19 vaccination plans,COVID-19 vaccination plans Northern Ireland,COVID-19 vaccines,Mobility retail,mobility retailers,mobility sector,mobility stores,Over-65sThe Department of Health has detailed ambition COVID-19 vaccination plans in Northern Ireland, as the country looks to offer everyone over 65 a vaccine by the end of February. This spells good news for Northern Ireland mobility retailers because over-65s are a key demographic for mobility stores as certain elderly...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals