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Sam Boal

Long queues continue at walk-in booster clinics, as HSE chief says people will be offered appointments

Many centres have waiting times of over an hour this morning.

LAST UPDATE | 11 Dec 2021

BOOSTER CLINICS AROUND the country are continuing to experience long queues as the HSE and the Government encourages people to get jabbed.

HSE chief Paul Reid has said that hospitals around the country will be “under real pressure” in the coming weeks, and has urged people to get their booster vaccine when offered – as people were turned away from UCD’s vaccine centre today.

Speaking to Saturday with Katie Hannon on RTÉ Radio One today, Reid said that “we are working through the sites, there are peak times where you get [queues], but I will say to people: there’s no need for urgent panic. We will be communicating with people about appointments.”

He added that waiting for a booster vaccine appointment from the HSE is still the main way to get a booster.

“You will get an appointment,” he said. “Our appointments are still our primary focus, giving people appointments by text. And the walk ins are indeed an enhanced option as well, and appointments through GPs.”

He said that the vaccination centres are “extremely well” resourced, and that it was about getting the balance right between vaccine appointments and walk-ins.

Reid said today that of the 2.2 million people being prioritised for a booster, which includes people in long-term care facilities, the medically vulnerable, the immuno-compromosed and anyone aged over 50, all will be offered a vaccine appointment or a walk-in vaccination before the end of December.

You can find estimated waiting times for various centres on the HSE’s Twitter.

Delays at vaccination centres

Reid said on Twitter today: “In December and January we know our hospitals will be under real pressure with currently 481 Covid-19 patients and 113 in ICU. We can all help to make this better by taking up the booster vaccine when offered.”

UCD’s vaccination centre is now at full capacity and is no longer taking walk ins. Those in line at the Belfield centre could be waiting up to two and a half hours to be seen.

According to the HSE, there is currently no queue at the Citywest centre – people in the queue for UCD were advised to go to that centre instead.

Citywest is only giving boosters to 50 to 69 year olds, and it’s closing at 12.30pm.

If you’re getting boosted at Cork’s City Hall, you can expect to be waiting for up to an hour and 10 minutes.

Limerick’s Scoil Carmel vaccination centre is giving boosters to 50-59 year olds until 2pm. 60-69 year olds can attend between 3pm and 7pm. Healthcare workers can go to Scoil Carmel any time until 7pm today. The current queuing time is 30 minutes.

Waterford IT is giving boosters to 60- to 69-year-olds and healthcare workers from 1.30 to 5pm.

You can see the full list of booster clinics and their opening times here.

Taoiseach’s comments

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is “concerned but hopeful” about Ireland’s Covid-19 situation, as he received a booster jab in Cork yesterday.

Martin said that he hoped the HSE could deliver 1.5 million booster jabs before the end of the year.

Speaking at Cork City Hall, where he joined the queue to receive his own Covid booster jab, he paid tribute to HSE staff at the centre and re-iterated that the uncertainty of the pandemic meant nothing could be ruled out.

“We have a series of restrictions in place now to 9 January. That was agreed by Government following advice from NPHET. One can never rule out anything in relation to Covid-19 because there are many twists and turns,” he said.

Earlier this week, Martin apologised to people who were turned away from vaccination centres in Dublin.

Walk-in centres at UCD and Croke Park offering booster jabs hit capacity on Thursday, forcing the HSE to turn people away, and issue statements on social media advising others not to attend.

It came after Martin claimed that the public did not have the same sense of “urgency” around boosters as they did during the initial vaccination rollout.

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