The head of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme has warned people from the Republic of Ireland should not cross the border for their COVID vaccine.
Dr Patricia Donnelly has noted that an increasing number of people from the Republic are trying to book vaccine appointments in the North despite being ineligible.
To be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Northern Ireland, one must be registered with a GP from the North and have a Northern Ireland healthcare number.
On Tuesday, Ms Donnelly said in a statement: ‘We are seeing increasing numbers of ineligible people, including people from the ROI, trying to book an appointment at one of our vaccination centres.
‘Today we see another significant step forward in the Northern Ireland vaccination programme. The SSE Arena will enable us to vaccinate a minimum of 4,000 per day building up to 8,000 and I urge anyone who is eligible to book their slot.
‘Only those who meet the criteria will be vaccinated. If you turn up and are not eligible you will be turned away and you will have wasted staff time in the process. Check before you book.
‘Do not make a wasted journey. You will not be vaccinated unless you are eligible. Do not waste your time and the precious time of centre staff.’
As of Tuesday. evening, over 776,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the North, including more than 687,000 first doses.
Meanwhile, as of Sunday, March 21, in the Republic of Ireland, 680,015 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 495,824 being first doses.
This warning from the North comes as the EU is set to tighten the criteria for countries to receive their vaccines.
It comes as the EU has seen vaccines exported by AstraZeneca to the UK while the contract with the EU has been left unfulfilled, with only a quarter of the ordered doses remaining in Europe.