‘Every vaccination brings us closer, together’ – that’s the message from the new Northern Ireland public information campaign launching today.

It will feature TV and radio adverts, as well outdoor advertising and a strong social media push.

The Northern Ireland COVID-19 vaccination programme has been a major success story to date with over 1.4 million doses administered, including almost one million first doses.

The public information campaign has been months in the planning by the Public Health Agency. It aims to maintain strong take-up rates in the weeks ahead, helping the vaccination programme to achieve its goal of protecting adults of all ages from the virus.

It has been timed to hit the airwaves as the vaccination programme starts reaching younger age groups – the uptake statistics show that almost 50% of the 30-39-year-olds have already taken up the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Some younger people may need more convincing to get the jab, believing themselves to be at less risk from the virus. The information campaign highlights the fact that getting vaccinated protects you and others – and helps us all get back to enjoying important activities that have been halted by the pandemic.

The campaign encourages anyone aged over 18 who is not already vaccinated to get it when eligible. It shows how getting the vaccine is a simple thing to do and will help bring us closer, not only to our friends and family, but closer to life feeling normal again.

Welcoming the new campaign, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Our vaccination programme has already saved many lives, and is protecting our loved ones and bringing down infection rates to a point where we can see normality on the horizon.

“However, as we start to see restrictions easing this is exactly the time when we must make sure that we don’t see an easing off in our vaccine uptake rates.

“Vaccines are helping us get back to doing the things we have missed – they protect you and those around you.

“This new campaign is a poignant reminder of some of the things we have to look forward to as a society.”

Dr Stephen Bergin, Interim Director of Public Health at the PHA, said: “Vaccination is one of the most important things we can do to protect our community against serious illness.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and very effective. The vaccines have gone through the same safety checks as any of the other long established vaccines and will protect you and the people close to you.

“It’s vital that as many people as possible book their vaccine when given the opportunity so we can continue to reduce the impact of this awful virus on our lives, and I urge everyone to play their part and get their jab when invited.

“If you are eligible for the vaccine, book it without delay to help protect yourself and those around you. Most people won’t receive an invitation for their vaccination – you just need to go ahead and book it as soon as you are in an eligible age group.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “I also very much welcome this campaign and commend PHA colleagues for their work in developing it.

“Our vaccination campaign has been a source of real pride for Northern Ireland. Notwithstanding inevitable logistical challenges, we must strive to maintain the momentum and progress. This new campaign will certainly play its part in making that happen.

“Getting vaccinated is our best defence against the virus. When you get your jab, you are protecting yourself and others. You are also helping society get to the point where we can again start to enjoy freedoms that we had to forego to save lives and control the pandemic.”

Two doses of the COVID-19 are needed for best protection and it is important to follow public health advice after you have been vaccinated.

  • Wear a face covering indoors where social distancing isn’t possible, or where it’s required, such as in shops, shopping centres, taxis, public transport and banks.
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 2m (around 6ft) between you and anyone outside of your household, to minimise your exposure to the virus and reduce the potential of spreading the infection.
  • Wash your hands properly, as this is one of the most effective things you can do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Wash hands regularly, and use sanitiser outside your home when hand washing isn’t possible, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces. Also try to avoid touching your face, and wash your hands as soon as you get home. If you sneeze or cough, ‘catch it, bin it, kill it.
  • If you are indoors, try to keep the area well-ventilated.

To learn more and to book your vaccination appointment visit: www.nidirect.gov.uk/covidvaccine  to learn more and to book your vaccination appointment.

The TV advertisement can be viewed at http://pha.site/TVad  

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