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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
flu vaccine

Some 'frustration' caused by rescheduling of non-priority flu jabs, Irish Pharmacy Union says

Boots is rescheduling some not at-risk flu jab appointments due to delay in the vaccines arriving.

SOME PHARMACISTS AND GPS are rescheduling flu jab bookings for non-priority patients due to a delay in the arrival of the vaccines. 

The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) said some “inconvenience and frustration” has been caused by the rescheduling of these appointments. 

“There has been a technical delay in initial vaccine allocations, meaning that vaccine orders have not been delivered as expected – not just in Ireland, but throughout the Northern hemisphere,” the IPU said in a statement to 

“Some Pharmacists and GPs who had booked patients in for vaccination are now having to reschedule these patients, which is causing some inconvenience and frustration, but ultimately we have been assured by the HSE that the full quantity ordered will be delivered and that there will be a vaccine for everyone who needs one.” 

The organisation said it “urged everyone” to talk to their pharmacist about getting the flu jab. 

Boots pharmacy chain has been rescheduling flu vaccine appointments booked before 6 October for patients not considered to be at-risk. 

In a statement, Boots said this is due to the “broad delay” for the delivery of the vaccines across the market. 

Those considered by the HSE to be at-risk include those aged over 65, children aged 2-12 and certain people with long-term health conditions. 

“These were due to arrive prior to October 1 when the vaccination service is planned to commence in our stores,” Boots said. 

“As a result, we are currently rescheduling any appointments booked prior to October 6 for people who fall outside of the HSE at-risk groups for whom a vaccination is strongly recommended.” 

Future appointments are being prioritised for at-risk patients in line with HSE guidance. 

The vaccine in numbers 

Speaking yesterday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said officials want this to be the “biggest flu vaccination programme the State has ever seen”.

“The State has advance purchased about two million doses, about 1.4 million of which is the injection… and about 600,000 of which is this nasal spray for children,” he said. 

“About half of the doses have arrived in Ireland are being distributed and the vaccine is now being administered.” 

A new nasal vaccine for children will be available from mid-October. 

A spokesperson for the HSE recently said that deliveries of the vaccine to GPs, pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes began on 17 September, and they are confident it will receive adequate supplies in the coming weeks.

The HSE has set a target uptake of 75% for those aged 65 years and older and for healthcare workers, in line with the World Health Organization’s target. The target uptake for the nasal flu vaccine for children aged two to 12 is 60%. 

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