Injections of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine start in Northern Ireland GP practices today.
A batch of 50,000 doses has been allocated, with those aged over 80 prioritised initially.
Northern Ireland has moved to accelerate delivery of the jab as the pace of the pandemic has picked up, with the new and more infectious variant of Covid-19 detected there.
The number of coronavirus infections has increased rapidly.
Chief medical officers across the United Kingdom have decided to delay delivery of the second shot of vaccines.
The intention is that the maximum number of people receive their first jab, giving partial protection, as quickly as possible to help stop the tide of cases which threatens to overwhelm the health service.
Northern Ireland is in the second week of a six-week lockdown in which non-essential retail is closed.
A further 1,662 cases of Covid-19 were recorded there yesterday, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive in the last seven days alone to 11,810, the Department of Health said.
Another six people with the virus have died.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is being rolled out across the UK, with just over half a million doses available from today.
Vaccinations will be delivered at some 730 established sites, with more opening this week.
They will be administered at a small number of hospitals in England for the first few days, including at Oxford University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust, where it was developed.
Five other hospital trusts – two in London, and then in Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire – will also start delivering the vaccine today.
The bulk of supplies will then be sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes later in the week for wider rollout.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this awful virus and I hope it provides renewed hope to everybody that the end of this pandemic is in sight.”

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