Here’s when you are getting your coronavirus vaccination

Huge progress has been made in vaccinating the most vulnerable against COVID-19 in Derry and across the north over the past month.

Friday, 15th January 2021, 11:08 am

If the Six Counties was a country rather than a region it would have the fourth highest vaccination rate in the world behind Israel (23.66 doses per 100), the United Arab Emirates (14.1) and Bahrain (5.96), according to figures from Our World in Data which were valid until yesterday.

Based on the 91,954 vaccinations the Department of Health reported at the start of this week 4.87 doses per 100 people had been delivered in the North.

Today the rate is even higher with the number of vaccines administered having risen to closer to 100,000 yesterday.

In the Western Trust thousands of people have already been partially inoculated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and some care home residents have received their second dose.

92k COVID vaccinations have now been administered across the north in little over a month, the Department of Health has revealedAs Ann McConnell, Director of Human Resources at the Western Trust, explains elsewhere in these pages, “At this point in time we have vaccinated about 2,000 residents and an equal number of care home staff.”

She adds: “The overall staff in the HSC system that have been vaccinated is just over 10,000 and we have administered just short of 15,000 vaccines in totality.”

Thousands of people have been vaccinated at the local mass vaccination centre in the Foyle Arena and thousands more - people aged over 85- have now received their jabs through their local GP practice. The Six Counties has already received 50,000 doses of the easier to manage Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine with another shipment expected to arrive on Monday offering real hope that all of the people in the higher risk older age categories will be immunised against the COVID-19 disease very soon.

Once all of the 38,700 people who are aged over 85 have receive their jabs real inroads can be made on the rest of the 314,700 people here who are aged over 65, affording a much needed glimpse of what many have described as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’

2000 care home residents and 10,000 health care staff receive jab as vaccination programme makes great strides in Western TrustThis week the Department of Health published its phased plan for the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

It says the rate of progress will be dependent on the availability of vaccines, supplied and managed by Public Health England (PHA), as part of UK-wide arrangements, but it is undeniable that the programme has proceeded well in its first month. Tús maith leath na hoibre - a good start is half the work, as the saying goes. Thanks to the publication of the plan people now have a real idea of when they are likely to be inoculated .

Phase 1 - From December

This is already well under way. The aim is to vaccinate 12,000 care home residents and 20,000 care home staff, over 70,000 HSC staff and 72,000 people aged over 80. That’s a target population of over 175,000 people. Already, around 100,000 vaccinations have taken place so this is progressing well.

Phase 2 - From February

Vaccinations will be offered to other groups considered clinically vulnerable to the illness by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

Jabs will be offered to people aged over 65 (over 233,000 people) in five year tranches. i.e. the over 75s will go first, the over 70s second and so on until the population is vaccinated.

People who are deemed clinically vulnerable and under 65 will also be vaccinated at this stage: 95,000 people who are considered extremely vulnerable will get their jabs first, followed by 130,000 whose vulnerability is classified as ‘moderate.’ It will likely take a few months to vaccinate all of the 458,000 people in this phase.

Phase 3 - From Spring

In the spring people in their 50s and 60s who had not already qualified for the vaccine will go under the needle.

They will again be invited forward in five year tranches with the older age groups going first. This will ultimately result in a further 366,000 people being vaccinated: the over 60s (106,000); the over 55s (125,000); and the over 50s (125,000). This is likely to take a number of months.

Phase 4 - From Summer

The mass vaccination of the general population not already vaccinated and who are aged over 18 will begin. This will involve the immunisation of around 400,000 and will lead to herd immunity if it has not already been realised.

Phase 5 - 2022 onwards

Proposals for routine seasonal vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 will be brought forward for 2022.

The vaccines currently being used are the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the programme here is dependent on continued availability via the PHA in Britain.

The administration of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is more time-consuming as patients must be observed for fifteen minutes after receiving it. It also must be stored at very low temperatures making the logistics of its delivery more complex.

It comes in large packs containing 975 doses and people need to receive two jabs to attain maximum protection.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is much easier to deliver and that is what the over 80s are now getting at their GP practices.

People do not have to be observed after receiving it and it can be stored easily. It comes in packs containing 80 to 100 doses.