First person to receive vaccine in Northern Ireland is nurse from Co Down

The first person to receive the vaccine in Northern Ireland was a nurse who will play a key role in the vaccination programme at the country’s main hospital.

Joanna Sloan, 28, is sister in charge of Covid vaccination for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland’s largest.

She received the jab at the Royal Victoria Hospital in West Belfast on Tuesday morning.

She is from Dundrum in Co Down.

Ms Sloan is a former emergency department nurse and has been in her job for six years.

She is engaged but her wedding was postponed due to the pandemic.

She has a daughter aged five.

Robin SWann
Robin Swann said the first vaccination was a ‘game changer’ (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Let us not underestimate the importance of today and what we are seeing with the start of our vaccination programme.”

He told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme: “It is a game changer, it is a big day.

“It is the day we have long been waiting for.”

He said it should be greeted with optimism but tempered with caution.

“This is the start of a long road to recovery but we are on the first step.”

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