One hundred British military medics are to be deployed to Northern Ireland to help accelerate its vaccination programme. 

The request for additional support was made by Stormont's Department of Health, and approved by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

In a statement, he said: "Today, I authorised the deployment of 100 defence medics to support the vaccine rollout in Northern Ireland from the end of this month.

"Our armed forces are once again stepping up to support the UK's response to the pandemic, working around the clock to protect our people in all four corners of the nation."

A total of 664,029 people have received vaccine doses north of the border. 

Of those, 614,629 were first doses, with 49,400 of those individuals also receiving their second dose.

Stormont's health minister Robin Swann announced on Wednesday that the vaccine programme is to be accelerated after delivery of the largest consignment to-date of the AstreZeneca vaccine.

More than 100,000 additional doses have been distributed to doctors' surgeries across Northern Ireland. 

Northern Secretary Brandon Lewis tweeted that he is "delighted that military medics are supporting the roll out of COVID19 vaccines". 

One further coronavirus death was recorded in Northern Ireland today, taking the official Department of Health toll to 2,097. 

There are 208 new cases from tests on 1,785 individuals.

There are 183 confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 23 in ICU, 18 of whom are on ventilators.

The average 7-day incidence rate is 69.7, the highest it has been since 3 March. 

The area with the highest rate remains Mid Ulster on 88.8, while the lowest remains Fermanagh and Omagh on 35.9.