Almost 50% aged 12 and over now boosted across Northern ireland

NI Ministers said everyone has a part to play in slowing the spread of Omicron.

Getting vaccinated and taking up the booster, they said, provides a “vital defence against both transmission and serious disease”.

Almost 50 per cent of the population aged 12 and over in the north has now received a booster/ third dose of the vaccine.

“We are deeply indebted to all our healthcare teams in the vaccination centres, GP practices and local pharmacies for once again stepping up and delivering the vaccines and booster jabs,” Ministers said in a statement. “We also acknowledge the sacrifices made by so many families over the holidays, who scaled back on previous plans and reduced the size of their family gatherings to keep themselves and others safe. We ask everyone to continue to limit gatherings to a maximum of three households.”

The Covid-19 vaccination centre in Derry's Foyle arena which has reopened to cope with demand for the booster vaccination. Picture Martin McKeown. 15.12.21

Ministers said they understood this was a difficult time for businesses, particularly on the hospitality and events sectors. “We thank everyone who continues to work with us and is doing everything they can to limit the spread of the virus. We will continue to press the Westminster Government for the necessary funding to enable us to provide support through this challenging time.”

They added: “As the holiday period comes to an end, we remind everyone of the need to work from home where possible. This is a crucial measure in reducing the risk of COVID-19 spreading. The levels of COVID-19 circulating in the community are at the highest rate they have ever been, and it is vitally important that anyone with symptoms isolates immediately and books a PCR test. Booking slots are made available at stages throughout the day and people are encouraged to retry should they not get a test slot immediately. You should continue to isolate until you have received the result.”