A NORTHERN Ireland virologist has welcomed the process of the Northern Ireland vaccination programme.

Dr. Connor Bamford, a virologist at Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “I think the vaccine [roll-out] worldwide is going really well, and if you look across the UK, most of the regions are similar.

“If you look across the world, we [Northern Ireland] are one of the leading countries in that, and one of the reasons is looking at the numbers of vaccines, because we have this approach where we’re trying to get as many people single-dose vaccines as quickly as possible.”

Due to Northern Ireland focusing on getting as many first doses as possible, there has been some delay in people getting their second dose of the vaccine.

Dr. Bamford compared the process in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

He said: “The Republic aren’t following that method [as many single doses as possible]; they get an initial burst of vaccine numbers going up, and then they have to wait a couple of weeks, and then those people can get their second dose before another batch of people can get their first dose.

“Northern Ireland is going well; we are getting lots of people vaccinated. This is the way back to normality.”


Dr. Bamford suggested that some form of restrictions should be kept in place until “people have been given two doses of their vaccine, and all adults offered a dose, and then [we can be] thinking about [vaccinating] children”.

“I think there is a long way to go [to exit the lockdown], and we don’t really want to see another surge of hospitalisations.”

Dr. Bamford reacted to the roadmap for exiting lockdown in place in England and said: “I think we need to focus on the data and numbers and I think England is not as cautious as it should be.

“Northern Ireland should be, and can afford to be, a bit more cautious when leaving some of these restrictions and needs to focus on making places safer, such as schools, because we don’t want to wreck our vaccine efforts.”