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No further Covid-related deaths as vaccine roll-out expanded to cover 45-49 age group

'I have something of an interest to declare with today’s announcement as I fall into the 45-49 age group. I am looking forward to getting my jab very shortly'

Robin Swann

There have been no further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Wednesday).

The figures for the past 24 hours are according to the official dashboard.

The ABC Borough accounts for 284 deaths overall. Both Newry, Mourne and Down District and Mid-Ulster can account for one of the five deaths each with each now reported as having a total of 165 and 200 deaths respectively.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department still stands at 2,115.

There were a further 123 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours – down from 151 – with 14 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – joint third highest in NI along with Fermanagh and Omagh District. There were a further five in Newry, Mourne and Down and another 16 in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 2,159 individuals were tested.

There are 118 – 13 less than Tuesday – people now in hospital across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 17 of whom are in intensive care units – one more than yesterday.

There are seven Covid patients in Craigavon Area Hospital.

There are currently 24 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

The figures come on a day when it was confirmed Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been extended to people in the 45-49 age bracket.

Everyone aged 45 and over can now book to have their jab at a vaccination centre or participating community pharmacy.

Booking where possible should be done online at: https://covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated. If online booking is not possible, then the telephone booking number is 0300 200 7813.

Those eligible for vaccination also have the option of waiting for their GP to contact them to arrange their jab.

The 45-49 age bracket is defined as everyone born between 01/04/1971 and 31/03/1976.

Confirming the latest expansion of the vaccination programme, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get the jab as soon as possible.

“I have something of an interest to declare with today’s announcement as I fall into the 45-49 age group.

“I am looking forward to getting my jab very shortly.”

The vaccination programme will continue to be extended, as soon as available supplies permit.

This week saw the launch of a new Northern Ireland vaccination centre at the SSE Arena.

In addition, close to 350 community pharmacies have also joined the vaccination programme.

It is expected that booking systems will be very busy in coming days, so everyone is asked to be patient.

The Minister added: “Vaccination is absolutely vital as we move forward out of this pandemic. Great work has been done at pace to progress the programme but we need to maintain that momentum.

“Whether you are in this latest age group, or one of the other eligible groups, please don’t delay in getting the vaccine. As we keep saying, the best time to book is now.”

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