Health Minister Robin Swann has asked friends and parents of young people aged 18 and over to encourage them to get vaccinated.

The Minister said friends and parents can play a central role in ensuring more people are protected from COVID-19.

Vaccination has never been more accessible. A programme of mobile walk-in clinics continues across Northern Ireland, while our regional vaccination clinics are all now accepting walk-ins without the need for appointments.

Mr Swann said: “I am not asking for pester power or nagging. Just please make sure your friends and children in the 18 plus age group make an informed decision on vaccination and are fully aware of everything that’s at stake. Sit down with them and have the conversation.

“When young people get the jab, they protect themselves, their parents, their grandparents and all those who are close to them.

“Each vaccination takes us a step closer to normality. Being double jabbed will open doors for people. We see that with travel and the vaccine certification requirements for holidays abroad.

“My message to young people is: don’t be left behind – don’t be left without the protection and opportunities that getting double jabbed brings.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride added: “People under 40 can now have a major say on the future path of this epidemic. If they get the jab they will save lives, protect our health service and reclaim normality, while protecting themselves and others. It’s that simple, it’s that easy.”

The current surge in Covid cases in Northern Ireland means increased risk for everyone.

In addition, even for people who initially suffer mild to moderate symptoms, long Covid remains a threat. This can have a lasting and debilitating impact on the physical and mental health of young people.

From today, all Northern Ireland’s regional vaccination centres are providing walk-in jabs without any need to book an appointment.

This applies to second doses as well as first doses – providing the required interval has passed since the first dose. The required interval between first and second doses is six weeks for Pfizer and eight weeks for Astra Zeneca.

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