Pre-match Covid jab clinic a winner with ministers as Larne progress in Europe

The First Minister and Health Minister visited a mobile vaccination clinic in Larne ahead of tonight’s historic European Conference League qualifier at nearby Inver Park.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 10:44 pm

The facility was set up before Larne’s second leg tie against Welsh outfit Bala Town - offering home supporters the opportunity to get the vaccine on their way to the match - which saw Tiernan Lynch’s team progress to the next round of the competition courtesy of a 1-0 win (2-0 on aggregate).

The clinic was also open to any other residents who happened to be in the vicinity.

The ministers have urged those over the age of 18 to come forward and get their vaccine.

First Minister Paul Givan and Health Minister Robin Swann visit a mobile vaccination clinic in St Cedma's Parish Hall beside Larne FC's home ground. They are pictured with Bob McCann, chairman of the Northern Trust, Fiona O'Neill, site co-ordinator and Rev David Lockhart. Pictures: Philip Magowan / PressEye

First Minister Paul Givan said: “I would like to acknowledge the tremendous logistical effort behind the vaccination programme. So many people have played a part in delivering the vaccine across Northern Ireland. Of course this involves the health trusts, the frontline medical and administrative support staff who are key to the programme.

“But these partnerships go much, much wider. Today I have seen how Larne FC and the Irish Football Association and have joined with St Cedma’s Church to offer first doses of the vaccination to football fans making their way to Inver Park.

“Sport has been hit hard by the pandemic, and we all want to get back to full grounds cheering on teams without restrictions. I am pleased to see Larne being part of that effort, and every fan who gets the jab here tonight will take us a step closer to that.”

The clinic was also held as Northern Ireland saw as sharp rise in Covid cases. The Department of Health dashboard today reported 1,083 new cases in the past 24 hours with the number of people testing positive over the past seven days now at 4,437.

First Minister Paul Givan and Health Minister Robin Swann during their visit to Larne.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “It’s never been easier to get a jab and I urge everyone to avail of the opportunity as soon as possible. As well as an increasing number of mobile vaccination clinics in every area of Northern Ireland, our regional Trust vaccination centres are all now accepting walk-ins without the need to book appointments.

“The current increase in Covid-19 infections in Northern Ireland means that all of us need to step up our efforts to fight the virus. Getting yourself vaccinated and encouraging your friends and family, specially younger people, to get the jab will help to protect us all. We’re bringing the vaccine to every community – please don’t delay in getting your jab.”

Earlier, the First Minister visited the SSE Arena vaccination centre in Belfast to get his second jab and thank those involved in delivering the programme.

Mr Givan said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound and long-lasting impact on the lives of everyone in Northern Ireland. We are all looking forward to a time when we are free from its shadow. But the vaccine is key to that.

“I am pleased to get my second vaccine today, and join the hundreds of thousands of people who have come forward to be vaccinated. I’m no more important than the people getting the jab before and after me. But it’s the strength in numbers that’s important here – the more people who are vaccinated the better equipped we are, collectively, to fight this virus.”

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Click here to read: Mobile vaccination team in Larne for club’s historic European game at Inver Park