Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the option of second doses of COVID vaccines for 16 and 17-year-olds in Northern Ireland should be offered without delay.
The South Belfast MLA said no clear reasons had been given by the Department of Health as to why second doses cannot be offered to the age group.
“The advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is the offer of second doses to 16 and 17-year-olds is ‘anticipated’. Given this, and the reality second doses have been rolled out in most of Europe, there is no reason for delay in Northern Ireland.
“Teenagers continue overwhelmingly to be more likely to be infected with the virus, and indeed to infect others. The evidence is clear, particularly with the delta variant, the second dose is particularly important to prevent illness and to restrict onward spread.
“With vaccination rates continuing to lag marginally behind neighbouring jurisdictions, Northern Ireland should be being proactive in offering vaccination to as many people as possible. Given second doses to 16 and 17-year-olds are ‘anticipated’, there is no reason not to proceed in Northern Ireland just as elsewhere.”