Swan condemns anti-vaccination protest at clinic for pregnant women

North Korea’s health minister, Robin Swan, said anti-vaccine protesters have halted operations at a vaccination clinic for pregnant women.

The Clinic for New and Pregnant Mothers was operated by the Western Health Trust at Foil Arena in Derry on Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Swan condemned those who demonstrated at the facility.

“This last protest is despicable,” he said.

“I would like to express my gratitude and solidarity to the vaccination team working at Foil Arena today. I am delighted to see pregnant women and new mothers applying for protection through vaccination, in line with expert scientific advice. I would encourage more to do so.

“Unfortunately, there is no logic with these anti-extremist crusaders, who still cling to their misguided and distorted agenda. My message to them is simple – we will not be distracted from our responsibility to vaccinate as many people as possible. Vaccination saves lives and reduces levels of serious disease.”

The Health and Social Care Council on Friday expressed concern about the increasing numbers of unvaccinated young people and pregnant women being hospitalized with Covid-19.

She said there had been cases of unvaccinated pregnant women who needed intensive care unit care and emergency caesarean delivery.

The Western Trust has plans for two more temporary clinics for new and expectant mothers before the end of the month.

Entry facilities provide initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine and no appointment is required.

Five more deaths linked to Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

The five people who died had previously tested positive for the virus.

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The North’s health ministry also reported 1,437 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Saturday.

On Friday, the Health and Social Care Board also warned against further surgical cancellations as staff continues to be diverted to treat increasing numbers of Covid patients in intensive care.

She said there was a need to take action to increase the intensive care unit capacity in hospitals across the region, and the only way to achieve this was to redeploy specialized staff working in other areas of the health care system.

On Thursday, 60 percent of patients in intensive care units in the North had not been vaccinated and 13 percent had only received one injection.

Hundreds of procedures have been canceled in recent weeks, including some urgent cancer surgeries, due to stress on the system.

The Health and Social Care Council said more cancellations are inevitable next week.

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