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tragic landmark First death of child aged under 15 linked to Covid-19 recorded in Northern Ireland

The tragic landmark was revealed in the latest figures provided by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra)

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Young people in Northern Ireland aged 16 and 17 can now get a Pfizer vaccine. PIC Colm O'Reilly

Young people in Northern Ireland aged 16 and 17 can now get a Pfizer vaccine. PIC Colm O'Reilly

Young people in Northern Ireland aged 16 and 17 can now get a Pfizer vaccine. PIC Colm O'Reilly

The first death of a child aged under 15 linked to Covid-19 has been recorded in Northern Ireland.

The tragic landmark was revealed in the latest figures provided by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

Patricia Donnelly, head of Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme, told UTV she was “really sorry” to hear the news.

"I do send my sincere condolences to that family. I think it is a very stark reminder that it is not just older people who are affected by this virus,” she added.

In a weekly release by Nisra on Friday, they stated: “The latest week’s registration figures include the first Covid-19 related death in Northern Ireland within the under-15 age group.”

Since the start of the pandemic there have been 27 Covid-linked deaths in the 15 to 44 age bracket, 262 among those aged 45 to 64 years and 436 involving people aged between 65 and 74 years.

The figures, covering the period from July 24-30, brings the toll recorded by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) to 3,026.

Of these, 2,006 (66.3%) took place in hospital, 783 (25.9%) in care homes, 14 (0.5%) in hospices and 223 (7.4%) at residential addresses or other locations.

The comparative number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health to July 30 was 2,189.

The Nisra figure is drawn from different data sources than the toll reported by Stormont’s Department of Health. It is always higher than the department’s total as it provides a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, teenagers in Belfast have spoken of being motivated by wanting to protect their families after becoming the first of their age in the UK to receive a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

On Friday, Northern Ireland became the first UK region where those aged 16 to 17 with no underlying medical conditions could receive the jab.

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The teenagers were able to attend walk-in appointments at seven regional vaccination centres across the region.

At the SSE Arena in Belfast, Meabh Magee, from Glengormley, was among those who turned up to get her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

"It was my idea (to get it) because I thought since I am being offered it, I may as well take it to protect my family because I have high-risk people and so I can see them," she said.

"Most of my friends are also happy to get it. I think it's good that we're being offered it and we can get it.

"It makes me more confident about going back to school and being around so many people."

Elliot Aston, from Newtownards, Co Down, said he was "quite excited" to have received his first jab.

"It's good that they're finally offering it to us because we are probably the ones that are out and about the most so I think it's about time," he said.

"I have an introduction day back to school coming up so I'll definitely feel safer now around my friends.

"Some of my friends were here today getting it too."

The Department of Health has been contacted.

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