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People need to take the AstraZeneca vaccine to “leave lockdown in the rear view mirror”, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has said.
The Republic of Ireland has temporarily paused administration of doses as a “precautionary step” after reports of people suffering blood clots in Europe.
However the vaccine’s manufacturer has insisted it is safe, saying a review of available data in more than 17 million people who have been vaccinated across the UK and EU has shown no evidence of an increased risk.
Arlene Foster said: “I am looking forward to taking it, either this week or next week, depending on when I am able to get my vaccine booked for but it is very important that people continue to take the vaccine.
“We have made huge progress in the UK in relation to the vaccine so it is important that people continue to do that so we can leave lockdown in the rear view mirror and we can move on with our lives.”
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Increase in infections could be linked to schools return, admits Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon said there is no room for complacency after a slight increase in coronavirus cases following the return of children to schools in Scotland.
Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing on Monday, she said she could not rule out the possibility that a rise in cases over the last week was linked to the return of schooling.
She said: “It is important to note that over the past seven days we have actually seen a slight increase in cases and we will be monitoring that carefully and it does provide us with a reminder that there is still no room for complacency and that our room for manoeuvre is limited.”
Children in P1-P3 returned to Scotland’s schools on February 22. On Monday, they were joined by classmates in P4-P7, with secondary school pupils returning to in-class learning part time.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Can we rule out a link between schools partially reopening and a bit of an uptick in cases? No, I don’t think we can.”