Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser have underlined the importance of as many people as possible getting vaccinated against Covid-19.
And they have appealed to young people in the 18-29 age group to come forward for their jabs.
Professor Sir Michael McBride and Professor Ian Young welcomed the localised initiatives underway to encourage take-up. These include walk-in, mobile and pop-up vaccination clinics.
“Vaccination was extremely important before the Delta variant of Covid-19. It is all the more important now, with the variant circulating in NI in increasing numbers,” the Chief Medical Officer said.
“I again urge younger people to get their jabs without delay, and would appeal to their parents to encourage them to do so. The right time to get the jab is right now.
“As modelling information already in the public domain has indicated, we are facing the potential of a significant Covid-19 surge by the end of summer, if not sooner.
“We can limit this surge and the damage it may do through the actions we all take right now. First and foremost, this means getting fully vaccinated with both vaccine doses.
“It also means continuing to follow public health advice to stop the virus spreading – hands, face, space and fresh air. In particular, avoid cramped or crowded indoor settings with poor ventilation.
“We all want to protect and extend the freedoms we have reclaimed from the pandemic. We all want our lives back, to be able to do things that matter to us. We are getting there and young people have made a huge difference. You have missed out on too much already. Let’s not miss out on any more. Vaccination is key. So too is avoiding complacency. The worst thing we could do right now is imagine that this is over, that the risk has gone.”
Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Young said: “I know some people will question how Covid can still be such a threat when our vaccination programme has gone so well.
“It has undoubtedly been a success, and we would be in a much more serious situation without the vaccines. Nevertheless, there is still vital work to do. There is a sizeable part of the population still to get the fuller protection that both vaccine doses provide. Getting both doses is particularly important in relation to the Delta variant.
“Also, while the COVID-19 vaccines are clearly effective, no vaccine in history has ever been 100% effective in 100% of cases. Some people may not get optimum protection from vaccination and consequently may remain vulnerable. While this should be a relatively small minority of vaccine recipients overall, the numbers involved may not be insignificant.
“We protect these people by doing all we can to stop the virus finding them. The higher the overall vaccine take-up rate, the more we can limit the spread.”