The death toll from Covid-19 now stands at 2,230 with 41 patients in ICU and a total of 2,335,798 vaccinations given.

Health officials have pleaded for more to come forward for vaccination, to make an informed choice and ignore misinformation being circulated.

The vaccination programme has apparently seen the number of Covid-19 cases needing hospital treatment fall by around 75 per cent. There are now 22 hospitalisations per 1,000 cases compared to 80 per 1,000 cases in last December. The benefits are said to be clear and indisputable.

A further two Covid deaths have sadly been announced along with a further 1,035 positive cases.

The latest figures show 245 hospital inpatients with the virus and of these 41 are in intensive care and 31 are on assisted ventilation. 1,221,743 first doses of vaccine have been given and 1,062,797 second doses.

The Department of Health has refuted claims and say that the vaccines do not change your DNA, do not make one magnetic, do not implant microchips, do not contain foetal cells and do not have an effect on fertility.

These are the facts the Department of Health issued yesterday:

  • Of 267 in-patients with COVID-19 across NI, 114 were aged under 60. Of these patients aged less than 60, 91 were totally unvaccinated – having received neither first nor second dose.
  • People who are totally unvaccinated account for 52% of all COVID-19 in-patients of all ages in our hospitals. That’s despite unvaccinated people now making up just 15% of the NI adult population (aged 18 and over).
  • By contrast, almost 1.1 million people in NI have now received both vaccine doses. Of these, just 109 were in hospital with the virus on August 9.

Health experts agree that the majority of any side effects are minor and short lived. A fact file is to be circulated online addressing some of the issues which may be putting people off getting jabbed.

The straight message is: don’t fall for the misinformation being peddled by anti-vaxxer extremists. Some apparently claim that Covid is a hoax, in which governments and health workers right across the world are somehow involved.

That’s an insult to all those who have lost their lives to this virus – and all those who have been bereaved and suffered serious ill health. These misinformations should not be believed as the Covid-19 vaccines have been through the same rigorous safety checks as other vaccines.

A wide social media push will encourage young people not to miss out on the benefits of vaccination. Further vaccinations, particularly in the younger cohort, will help us get through the current surge in cases and any further surges in the autumn and winter.

The more we increase the uptake rate, the more we can move forward. Some people question the effectiveness of vaccines because the virus is still circulating and some vaccinated people are still getting the virus.

Whilst the vaccination does not entirely eradicate the Covid risk it does reduce it substantially. It also reduces your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from the virus by about 95 per cent and it reduces your risk of catching or spreading it. 

Getting the jab makes it less likely that you will get infected and if you still do, it will be less likely that you will get seriously ill with Covid-19 or pass it on to others in your family or your community. 

There were 8,974 cases in the last week compared to 8,388 in the previous week. There is a way to go with this virus.