Low vaccination rates were another demonstration of Health Service crisis - Bradshaw

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has warned that a study in The Lancet, showing half Northern Ireland's population was not fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus in mid 2022, is both part of the cause and a symptom of Northern Ireland's Health Service crisis.

The South Belfast MLA stated: "The study shows that, between July and September 2022, 44 percent of the UK's population was not fully vaccinated to protect against Covid-19, but that this figure rose to almost 50 percent in Northern Ireland. The study goes on to show that this led to an unnecessary rise in Covid-related hospital admissions, something Northern Ireland's health system absolutely did not need.

"Across the UK, the study estimates that 17 percent of hospital admissions due to Covid would have been avoided had all the available doses and boosters been taken, with those over 75 more than twice as likely to fall ill than those who were fully protected.

"Unfortunately, this did not just cause unnecessary admissions, but was also a symptom of a Health Service which was evidently not in a position to focus sufficiently on vaccination as the most obvious preventative measure; those who were most forceful in saying the pandemic was ongoing were not forceful enough in ensuring adequate steps were taken to ensure maximum protection from the virus. Underlying this, therefore, is the ongoing failure to reform the system in Northern Ireland from one which is over-capacity into one which pays much more attention to proactive prevention of illness in the first place."