The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination are clear and indisputable, Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young has emphasised.

“Back in December last year, for every 1000 cases of COVID-19 in NI, around 80 were admitted to hospital here,” Professor Young stated. “Now it’s in the region of 22 hospitalisations per 1000 cases. That’s a dramatic reduction.

“Clearly, the vaccination programme has made a significant difference. Its benefits are indisputable.

“I would again encourage anyone who has not been vaccinated to get the jab. This will help us get through the current surge in cases and any further surges in the autumn and winter.

“The more we increase our take-up rate, the more we will be able to move forward.”

Initiatives to increase take-up are continuing, including an extensive ongoing programme of walk-in localised vaccination clinics around Northern Ireland.

Further initiatives are also planned. The first dose take-up rate for the 18 plus adult population is now circa 85%.

The Department of Health is also today publishing a COVID-19 factfile, bringing together already published materials debunking anti-vaccination myths. It will be circulated online, complementing ongoing vaccination messages via TV and radio advertising and social media/digital channels. A UK-wide social media push, encouraging younger people not to miss out on the benefits of vaccination, will also cover NI.

Professor Young added: “I have seen some people questioning the effectiveness of vaccines because the virus is still circulating and some vaccinated people are still getting it. This argument is entirely misplaced.

“The truth is that while vaccination does not entirely eradicate the Covid risk, it reduces it substantially. It cuts your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from the virus by around 95% and it reduces your risk of catching or spreading it.

“Getting jabbed makes it less likely you will get infected. And if you still do, it will be less likely that you get seriously ill with the virus, or will pass it on to others.”

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