Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health when COVID-19 vaccinations will be provided to carers of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. [Priority Written]
Minister of Health: As you will be aware, vaccination policy in Northern Ireland is based on the recommendations and advice provided by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which advises the 4 UK Health Ministers.
JCVI has advised that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.
Based on the vaccine that should be available by late January and throughout February, we are confident we will see rapid progress through the first 4 priority groups – care home residents and staff, the over 80s, HSCWs, those aged 70 years and over, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Those who care for family members who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable, will be offered vaccination at priority group 6. We would hope to begin vaccination of priority group 5 and 6 (all those 65 years of age and over, all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality, and carers) by late February/early March, before moving on to other priority groups as recommended by JCVI.