Patricia Donnelly hails colleagues for vaccination drive as she steps down

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The head of the north's vaccination programme Patricia Donnelly has thanked everyone for helping deliver 3.7million COVID-19 jabs as she stands down from the role after 18 months.

Ms. Donnelly said: “The vaccination programme has required a super-human effort from all involved. From getting the vaccine to the right place, giving jabs in vaccination centres, pharmacies and GPs practices, or making sure people know where and when to go for a vaccine.

“To the teams of vaccinators, administrative staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months – thank you. Your commitment and dedication has been truly remarkable. This was a team effort and it has been a huge honour to be involved.

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“From the outset we have known that every jab counts and it is thanks to you that there have been many lives saved, and far, far fewer people seriously ill in hospital due to covid. You should be very proud of the role you have played.”

Patricia DonnellyPatricia Donnelly
Patricia Donnelly

She said Health Trusts, GPs, community pharmacies, as well as colleagues in the Department of Health, Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board, played a vital role in the immunisation driver.

And turning to the public, she said: “Thank you for rolling up your sleeves and helping to protect yourselves and those around you from this terrible disease. However we’re not at the finish line just yet. I’ve made plenty of appeals to the public in the past 18 months but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for one more - please come forward for your jabs.

“It’s vital that everyone in the 75 plus age group and those who have severely weakened immune systems come forward for their spring booster. I would again encourage everyone who is eligible for their booster to get it without delay.

"Vaccination clinics are still running across Northern Ireland and people are still coming forward for boosters as well as first and second doses. It’s not too late to get protected.”