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GPs reassure patients they will be called for COVID jab

Image with text - The HSC will get in touch when it's your turn to be vaccinated
The HSC will get in touch when it's your turn to be vaccinated

Local GP surgeries are reassuring patients that they will be contacted about the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they are eligible to receive it. They’re also asking people to be patient and not to call to ask when they will be getting their vaccine.

GP practices across Northern Ireland are rolling out the vaccine in the coming weeks following an early adopter phase in the first week of January. Given the huge rise in COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland, vaccination is now seen as the most important factor in protecting the general population against serious illness.

Margaret O’Brien, Head of GP Services, Health and Social Care Board said, “This week, every GP practice across NI has received a delivery of the vaccine and more than 9000 people have been vaccinated by GP practices in the first week. We expect more vaccine supplies to arrive in the coming weeks to enable GPs and practice staff to roll out what is the most comprehensive vaccination programme in recent times.”

Patients will be vaccinated according to a priority list set by the Department of Health. Patients over 80 years old and over are being vaccinated first, followed by those over 75 and then the over 70s and people with serious underlying health conditions.

Speaking about the programme, Dr Alan Stout, British Medical Association (BMA) NI GP committee chair said, “We are very pleased that we can now take this important step in protecting our population against COVID-19. We know patients are very anxious to get vaccinated but I really need to reinforce two things; we will be going as fast as we can to get everyone vaccinated and we will contact relevant groups as their time comes around. There is no need to ask to be added to the list for vaccination and our staff are working as fast as they can to let people know when their appointment will be.

“Secondly, this is a massive additional piece of work for GPs who are still open for business and doing their best to see patients who have other ongoing or new health concerns. However it is likely as we prioritise the vaccination programme that the might be some disruption to other services. Patients who need care or treatment will still be seen but if you feel you can manage your condition at home or with the help of your local pharmacist then we would encourage you to do so.

“I would strongly encourage everyone who is invited for vaccination to get it when invited. It is key to us getting the virus under control and our lives back to normal.”