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Health Minister needs to urgently clarify whether carers will receive booster jab, says Armstrong

The Health Minister needs to urgently clarify whether carers will receive the COVID booster jab, Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said.

The Strangford representative was speaking after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended extending the vaccine booster to those aged over 40, with over-50s already being eligible.

However, despite Robin Swann previously pledging carers would be in the early stages of the entitled groups for the booster, it has still not happened, a situation Ms Armstrong said was unacceptable.

“Earlier this year, the Health Minister confirmed carers would be in the first phase of boosters,” she said.

“But again, they have been left frustrated as it appears the Minister has forgotten about carers once more. The Minister previously promised a one-off £500 payment in recognition of workers throughout the pandemic, but then later confirmed he didn’t have the ability to make the payment.

“Carers continue to provide unpaid caring services, without a break. They have been left without respite or day centre provision, as well as no payment and now no booster. Some carers are rightly asking if the Health Minister really cares about them. If he did, this persistent and disappointing treatment would stop and they would be prioritised, not forgotten.”