Northern Ireland Covid-19 vaccination team thanked for ‘super-human’ effort as head of programme steps down

The departing head of Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has praised the “super-human” effort from those who delivered 3.7 million jabs.

tepping down after 18 months, Patricia Donnelly praised all those involved including Health Trusts, GPs, community pharmacies as well as those in the Department of Health, Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board.

“The vaccination programme has required a super-human effort from all involved,” she said.

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«From getting the vaccine to the right place, giving jabs in vaccination centres, pharmacies and GP practices, or making sure people know where and when to go for a vaccine.

“To the teams of vaccinators, administrative staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months – thank you. Your commitment and dedication has been truly remarkable. This was a team effort and it has been a huge honour to be involved.”

With every jab counting, she said many lives had been saved and there were far fewer seriously ill people in hospital.

To the public, she thanked them for “rolling up your sleeves” to protect themselves and others against a “terrible disease”.

“However we’re not at the finish line just yet. I’ve made plenty of appeals to the public in the past 18 months but I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for one more – please come forward for your jabs,” she said.

“It’s vital that everyone in the 75 plus age group and those who have severely weakened immune systems come forward for their spring booster.

«I would again encourage everyone who is eligible for their booster to get it without delay. Vaccination clinics are still running across Northern Ireland and people are still coming forward for boosters as well as first and second doses. It’s not too late to get protected.”

Adding his thanks for her service, the Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Words cannot do justice to the work Patricia and Margaret have put in or to the importance of that work.

«I want to thank them for their expertise, commitment and boundless determination”.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Michael McBride said Ms Donnelly and her team’s efforts had “provided hope at an incredibly difficult time”.

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