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Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride has urged the people of Northern Ireland to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they are eligible for it.

“I would strongly encourage everyone in Northern Ireland to come forward for their COVID-19 vaccination when their turn comes,’ the CMO said in a statement released by the Department of Health.

“The expert, independent advice is clear – the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh any potential risk for the vast majority of adults. The potential risk from this rare blood clotting condition is extremely low – and a definite link to vaccination has not yet been established.

“The risk/benefit calculation is different for those under 30, due to the reduced threat posed to this age group by COVID and the availability of other vaccines.

For the rest of us, it is essential to understand that COVID-19 represents a much greater risk. COVID-19 has claimed many lives in Northern Ireland and left many others with debilitating long-term health issues. It is also the case that COVID infection itself brings an increased risk of blood clots.

“It is thanks in no small measure to the AstraZeneca vaccine that Northern Ireland is in a much better position than it was at the start of the year. It will continue to have a vital role in saving lives, reducing hospitalisations and helping us move out of lockdown.

“Like hundreds of thousands of other people in Northern Ireland, I was very pleased and relieved to receive my first AstraZeneca dose. I am looking forward to receiving my second AZ jab when my turn comes.

“We all want to live without a constant dread of COVID and to get our old lives back. Vaccination has an essential role in ensuring we have a better and safer summer.”

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