The SSE Arena in Belfast is now a Covid-19 vaccination center
By Anthony Neeson
The vaccination roll-out in Northern Ireland continues at pace with the opening of the SSE Arena in Belfast as a vaccination center, one which could see up to 8,000 people a day receiving their jab.
The First and Deputy First Minister, along with the health minister, visited the arena as it opened its doors on Monday morning to welcome people in the over-50s category whose turn it is to be offered vaccinations.
Vaccinations are also available in Northern Ireland at health trust center, family doctor practices and pharmacies.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The opening of The SSE Arena as a regional vaccination centre is a significant milestone in the rollout of our vaccination programme.
"More than 726,000 adults have now received their first dose of the vaccine and the opening of the vaccination centre here will see that figure rise significantly in the coming weeks. I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get booked in, to help protect themselves, their families and our community.”
The Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Seeing this centre in operation illustrates yet again the amazing efforts by all parts of the Health and Social Care family.
"Efforts not only to deliver the vaccination programme but in every aspect of their response to the pandemic, as they have worked tirelessly to care for and protect our people. We are all looking forward to brighter days and every jab helps takes us further down the pathway towards a better and safer future.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said the health service had made huge inroads in delivering the vaccination to over half of the adult population in Northern Ireland.
“The opening of this centre will enable the programme to expand at an even quicker rate and I hope to announce very soon that I will be opening the programme to additional age cohorts to allow more of those eligible to book their vaccination.
"I am extremely proud of how the Northern Ireland vaccination programme is being delivered. I thank everyone involved not least all the staff and volunteers who are in charge of delivering the vaccine and keeping our population safe, but also to the management of the SSE Arena for helping to make this happen.”