THE decision to all the Antrim Forum to act as a mass vaccination centre offers some much-needed ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ after difficult months in lockdown.
South Antrim MP Paul Girvan has welcomed the move, which had unanimous support in the council chamber.
But Mr Girvan has chose to single out his DUP Council colleagues for praise following their proposal to allow free use of Council facilities for the vaccination programme.
“The mass roll out of the vaccination programme is making great progress in Northern Ireland and it is important that we maintain this progress,” he said.
“The forthcoming use of the Antrim Forum by local GPs to offer the vaccination to those over 70 -years-old and those who are clinically vulnerable is very welcome news.
“This will allow for a rapid increase in the speed and the amount of vaccinations that can be carried out on a daily basis.
“I wish to pay tribute to my DUP Council colleagues for securing support for their proposal to offer use of all Council facilities free of charge to aid the vaccination process.
“It is vital that as a community, we come together to ensure we all play our part in the battle against COVID-19.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and the use of Antrim Forum is another important step on our journey to better days.”
A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey confirmed that the plans are moving apace.
“The council has been engaging with a group of Antrim GPs about providing large-scale facilities to assist in rolling out the next phase of vaccinations,” said the spokesperson.
“We are proud to support their efforts, and have prepared the Antrim Forum to facilitate this.
“As yet, no specific date has been requested, but the council encourages everyone to take up the opportunity to receive the vaccine when called to do so.”
Meanwhile, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has expressed support for the possibility of 24-hour vaccination.
* See pages 40 and 41 for a special report from inside the Northern Trust’s vaccination centre.