NI’s Chief Medical Officer has urged young people aged 16 and over not to miss out on COVID-19 vaccination.

Professor Sir Michael McBride welcomed the “Big Jab Weekend” initiative to improve vaccine take-up.

It will see the mass vaccination centres once again offering vaccine first doses to all eligible age groups – for two days only this Saturday and Sunday (August 21 and 22).

That’s on top of ongoing vaccinations at walk-in pop-up clinics across Northern Ireland, and at participating community pharmacies.

The Chief Medical Officer said: “Young people have made huge sacrifices in this pandemic. Vaccination is their passport back to normality. It helps protect them and the people they care about. It also will be vital to helping our health service cope in the coming months.

“Please don’t miss out on all the benefits that come with getting the jab. You do not want to get this virus. You do not want to pass it to someone else. And you do not want long COVID, with all the health complication that involves.

“I am not interesting in lecturing or berating young people on vaccination. It is their decision. But I would ask them to make an informed decision, based on information from trusted sources.”

The ‘Big Jab Weekend’ this Saturday and Sunday will be the last chance for anyone aged 18 and over to get their first jab at a mass vaccination centre.

There will be ongoing initiatives, including further mobile clinics. However, opportunities will inevitably become more limited, as the focus of the vaccination programme switches to booster jabs.

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