Northern Ireland passed a historic milestone yesterday when it was announced over 1 million coronavirus vaccinations have now been administered. That includes over 800,000 first jabs meaning over 50% of the adult population have now received protection. Not bad, considering the first vaccination was given only four months ago. The rollout has been an unprecedented success with a massive uptake by the public.
In the wider United Kingdom the British Government has now reached its target of delivering first jabs to 32 million people, which covers the top nine priority groups. It had aimed to reach this target by 15 April so has passed it with almost a week to spare. The next aim is to offer a vaccination to every adult by the end of July. I’m confident they can do it, given the people and processes now in place to administer the vaccine.
Our political leaders are meeting on Thursday to decide what, if any, further restrictions can be relaxed. Infection figures and, more importantly, hospitalisation and deaths rates have fallen steadily in recent weeks so they will be taking their decisions from a much better place. I’m hopeful they will as we are currently lagging behind England, Scotland and Wales in terms of re-opening society and the economy.
I’m hopeful this is the beginning of the end as we gradually edge towards normal, albeit a new kind of normal. Outdoor sports return tomorrow as well although initially it will be non-contact training only. They are small steps but hopefully irreversible ones as we emerge from the nightmare of the past twelve years. Wherever you are in the world today, I hope that you’re keeping safe and well.