over a million people have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine – over 70% of the adult population – and over 625,000 (over 40%) have received two doses.
Opening the reservation system to all adults is another important step in the vaccination program, which was launched less than six months ago.
As of Wednesday, a total of 2,152 people have died after contracting the virus and 122,282 have tested positive since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Health Minister Robin Swann said he was “delighted” that the vaccination program is now open to all adults.
“I know this will be very good news for the youngsters who have waited patiently for their turn to receive the blow,” he said.
“Today’s announcement is another important step in the drive to get as many people vaccinated as possible as quickly as possible, so that we can see a return to normalcy.
“The tremendous success of the immunization program has brought great hope and helped enable the recent easing of restrictions.
“The extension of the vaccination program, well ahead of schedule, to all people aged 18 and over is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in administering the vaccine throughout Ireland from North.”
Adults aged 18 and over can make a reservation from 8:00 a.m. on Thursday.
In accordance with the latest JCVI advice, anyone under the age of 40 can book their vaccination at a trusted center in order to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride added: “I know that many young people will be very keen to reserve their vaccine now that they are eligible for vaccination.
“It is important to understand that while the risk of serious illness is lower in young people, some can become very sick and, of course, transmit the virus to others who may be more vulnerable.
“We are facing the emergence of new variants and we all have a role to play in protecting each other.
“I urge everyone aged 18 and over to reserve a window for immunization, including those in older groups who have not yet come forward. Together we can make a difference. “
Vaccine stocks remain limited and, as a result, approximately 20,000 slots will be available for reservation on Thursday mornings.
The Department of Health has asked those waiting for an appointment to be patient, as additional slots for the coming weeks will be released every Thursday morning.
If you are under 40 and want to make an informed decision to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, slots are available at the SSE Arena and participating community pharmacies.
Details of participating pharmacies and how to book are online at: covid-19.hscni.net/community-pharmacy-covid-19-vaccination-service