Covid-19: Swann warns against vaccines complacency
Health Minister Robin Swann has warned against complacency as the number of people vaccinated against Covid-19 passed 275,000.
The Northern Ireland total stands at 301,279 – 275,232 first doses and 26,047 second doses.
However, Mr Swann said there can be “no shortcuts, no rush to any exit door” from the pandemic.
The Department of Health hopes to vaccinate all over 65s by the end of February, in a twin-track approach.
Mr Swann said it can take several weeks to build immunity after vaccination and “protection against the virus is not the same as invincibility.
“The vaccination programme gives us hope that the sacrifices we are making will be worth it,” he said.
“Let’s stick together and keep taking all those steps that we know will keep each other safe.”
There was a fall in the weekly number of Covid-19-related deaths registered in Northern Ireland.
The NI statistics agency said there were 137 deaths registered in Northern Ireland in the week up to Friday 29 January. That is down 45 on the previous week’s record high of 182.
Separately, on Friday, the Department of Health announced a further 16 Covid-related deaths in Northern Ireland, 15 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.
A further 506 cases of the virus were announced.
Nisra’s figures are based on mentions of the virus on death certificates.
The agency’s total death toll stands at 2,448 since the start of the pandemic.
The Department of Health bases its measure on a positive test result being recorded. Its total for the same date was 1,837.
Recording mentions of the virus on death certificates, where it may or may not have been confirmed by way of a test, is the reason why Nisra’s figures are higher than that recorded by the Department.
Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland a further 35 Covid-related deaths and 1,047 cases were reported on Friday.
A total of 3,621 coronavirus-related deaths and 201,763 cases have now been confirmed in the country since the start of the pandemic.
On the agency’s measure, there have been 1,591 Covid-19-related deaths in hospital, including the deaths of 220 care home residents.
Taking that figure, and the 712 which happened in care homes, it means care home residents now account for fewer than two-fifths (37.4%) of all Covid-19-related deaths.
Covid-19-related deaths were also recorded in hospices (0.5%) and other residential locations (7.2%).
People aged 75 and over account for more than three-quarters of all Covid-19-related registered deaths (77.4%) between 19 March 2020 and 29 January 2021.
The Antrim and Newtownabbey Local Government District has now recorded the highest proportion of Covid-19-related deaths, as a proportion of the total (18.6%).
The provisional number of deaths from all causes for the week ending 29 January was 437.
That is 37 fewer than the previous week, and 78 more than the five-year average for the time of year (359).