Although previously those who have been double vaccinated were told to wait until six months for a booster shot, this has been amended to three months.
In a statement on Tuesday the Department of Health said newly opened Health Trust vaccination clinics across NI are offering boosters to the 50 plus age group.
It follows the emergence of the Omicron variant, including confirmed cases in the UK. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has ‘urgently reviewed’ vaccine response measures and has advised on accelerating the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and raise levels of protection across the population.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair, COVID-19 immunisation, JCVI said: “Having a booster dose of the vaccine will help to increase our level of protection against the Omicron variant. This is an important way for us to reduce the impact of this variant on our lives, especially in the coming months.”
The vaccine clinics, opened in the Southern Health Trust area, will also provide first and second doses to anyone eligible of any age.
“If you are 50 or over you can get it at a Trust clinic, a participating pharmacy – or wait for your GP to invite you in.
“If you are aged 40-49, you are next on the age priority list for boosters,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health.
“Eligibility will be extended to you on a phased basis, as quickly as possible.
“Right now, people in their 40s who had their second dose six months ago or more can also get their booster at a Health Trust vaccination clinic,” she said.
“Eligibility for this age group will be gradually widened in the coming weeks reducing to the recommended three month interval.
“Vaccinators will work through all adult age groups in a phased way, just as they did in the original vaccination programme earlier this year.
“The updated Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice makes clear that boosters ‘will be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group’.
“People under 40 who are more vulnerable to COVID are already being prioritised, alongside older age groups.
“The JCVI’s announcement also says that those aged 18 to 39 will be called when eligible for a booster,” said the Department of Health.
“We will call them forward on phased basis in order of descending age groups, as the JCVI has advised.
“We ask that people wait until their age group is called forward.
“The booster programme involves the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Your booster dose does not have to be same vaccine as your first and second doses.
“Most Trust vaccination hubs are offering both walk-in and booked appointments – eligibility will change from week to week. Bookings can be made on the HSCNI websiteVaccine clinics are open in the following locations across the Southern Health Trust:
Rushmere Shopping Centre, Craigavon - Thursday 2 December, 2pm - 8.30pm; Friday 3 December, 2pm-8.30pm
Staff Vaccination Clinic, St Luke’s Hospital, Armagh - Saturday 4 December, 10am-5pm
Newry Leisure Centre - Thursday 2 December, 12pm - 8pm
Seagoe Parish Centre, Portadown - Friday 3 December, 8.30am-5pm
The Junction, Dungannon - Sunday 5 December, 9.30am-5.30pm
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