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HSE flags 'no show' rates of 25% to 50% for booster jab appointments

CEO Paul Reid said that it is “really important” that people avail of a booster jab

HSE CEO Paul Reid.
HSE CEO Paul Reid.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Updated Nov 18th 2021, 4:49 PM

THE HSE HAS said that some vaccination centres are recording “no show” rates of between 25-50% for Covid-19 vaccine boosters. 

Speaking at a briefing this afternoon, CEO Paul Reid said that it is “really important” that people avail of a booster jab when one is offered, suggesting that a “sense of security” may be contributing to people not doing so.

The government’s Covid-19 statistics website yesterday began publishing stats on the level of booster jabs being delivered. 

As of yesterday, 481,519 booster jabs have been administered. This is made up of 61,400 doses to people who are immunocompromised and 420,119 doses to other categories. 

The total number of people now approved for boosters is estimated to be 2.2 million people. 

Speaking today, Reid said that anyone who is offered a booster should avail of one. 

“There is an early phenomenon which I’d like to flag and say what we need to do. Certainly we are seeing people not coming forward for a high number of appointments made,” he said

It’s really important if you’re offered a booster appointment that you take it up, we have seen some no show rates and some centres varying from 25 to 50%. So it’s a really important call to everybody, we are going to be dealing with significant elements of population and we need those appointments utilised.  

“Maybe just due to a sense of security among people feeling they have had two vaccines and don’t need a booster, but we do know it’s really important for people to come forward. The more people receive these booster shots when there are due for you, the smaller the number of people we expect to see in hospitals.”

Booster cohorts

The booster programme is already underway in Ireland for people who are immunocompromised, healthcare workers and those over 60.

This week, the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC) approved boosters people aged 50-59, people aged 16-59 years with an underlying condition and all residents in long-term healthcare facilities, irrespective of age. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin this week provided an estimate about when the current cohorts approved for boosters would be completed. 

Scale of testing

Addressing the issue of people experiencing difficulties booking PCR tests, Reid said Ireland’s testing system is currently operating at one of the highest capacity levels in the European Union.

colm-henry Dr Colm Henry at today's operational update. Source: Sam Boal

The health service boss said 198,000 lab tests had been carried out in the last seven days.

“This is a phenomenol rate we are at, and it is because the virus is so rampant in our communities,” Reid said.

Over the last week the testing system consistently carried out more than 20,000 tests per day, reaching as high as 25,000 tests were carried out on Tuesday. The system was initially designed to carry out 15,000 tests per day.

The HSE has also entered into an agreement with private testing provider RocDoc to operate a testing centre at Dublin airport.

The facility opened on Monday and is now carrying out over 1,000 appointments per day. There are plans for similar facilities to be established at Cork and Shannon airports over the next two weeks.

Reid said the HSE is outsourcing to private companies due to demand that they “have never seen anything like before”.

People waiting for test appointments were told to restrict their movements. 

‘Inconceivable strain’

Reid said the health service is facing the “highest level of impact and risk we’ve had to manage since Covid landed here”.

He warned that services will face “unyielding and unrelenting strain over the next while”.

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The briefing was also told that unvaccinated people continue to make up a disproportionate share of intensive care patients.

Of the 476 patients in ICU between 27 June and 13 November, 61% were either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, Reid said.

“I state it because our clinical teams are asking us to state it very clearly,” he said.

Reid added that the use of private beds will be almost trebled in the coming weeks, from 1,100 beds per week to 3,000.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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