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HSE drops Carlow hotel as Covid-19 vaccination centre after surprise inclusion on official list

The Seven Oaks Hotel said today that its use had not been confirmed by the health service.

The new centre will be located in IT Carlow
The new centre will be located in IT Carlow
Image: Google Street View

THE HEALTH SERVICE has changed the location of a mass vaccination centre in Carlow after a hotel owner expressed surprise that his venue was published on a finalised list of centres. 

The Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow said today that its use as a vaccination centre had not been confirmed by the HSE, despite its inclusion on a list of 37 such locations which would be used as part of the nationwide programme.

The list includes sports venues, college campuses and hotels, and a government spokesperson indicated this evening that up to 40 venues may be used.

However, the Seven Oaks was one of a number of venues who said today that the use of their premises had not been confirmed, despite featuring on a list unveiled by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly yesterday.

General manager of the hotel Michael Walsh told TheJournal.ie that he was still awaiting final confirmation from the HSE today, but suggested that his venue may have been too small.

He said the use of the hotel as a vaccination centre “would have given us a boost, but we’re not dependent on it”.

In a statement this evening, the HSE confirmed that the Carlow venue had been changed to the sports hall at Carlow IT because it offered better car parking facilities, access and internal space.

“Seven Oaks Hotel have been very helpful to date and the hotel is very well-located,” a spokesperson said.

“However, in light of the changes to vaccination centre requirements for registration space and the necessity for at least two separate pharmacy rooms, it has emerged that there would not be available space to give meaningful numbers of vaccination booths.” 

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Health Minister told TheJournal.ie that the list is subject to change as the roll-out progresses and other locations are identified.

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He said the hotel in Carlow had been identified as a possible location but in recent days, due to a change in specifications, it was deemed too small.

The HSE added that the vaccination programme is committed to remaining flexible in order to meet the levels of supply and demand in the coming months.

- Contains reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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