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Increase in number of people registering for Covid-19 vaccine - HSE

The HSE’s Damien McCallion said an information campaign will run over the next 10 days to encourage people to take up a vaccine.

Damien McCallion, HSE National Lead, Vaccination Programme
Damien McCallion, HSE National Lead, Vaccination Programme
Image: Sasko Lazarov

THE NUMBER OF people registering for a Covid-19 vaccine has increased from 800-1,000 per day to more than 2,000 a day, the head of the HSE’s vaccination programme has said. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Damien McCallion said an information campaign will run over the next 10 days to encourage people to take up a vaccine.

McCallion said that over 60% of the people being treated in ICU are unvaccinated.

“We’re encouraging [people] to go forward and talk to their healthcare professional – be it in hospital or to their GP – who can perhaps talk them through and explain the benefits and risks of the vaccine.

“Those people are at very high risk of ending up in intensive care, and as [Paul Reid, HSE CEO] said yesterday, we have seen people even die as a result of receiving the Covid disease in recent times.”

McCallion said the HSE is focusing on those who have received a first dose but not a second. He said this group will receive an individual phone call.

“I think the key thing we would say to people is go to trusted sources of information.

“Be it online, such as HSE.ie, or talk to healthcare professionals – your GP, your pharmacy or your consultant.

“Particularly for those vulnerable groups, it’s really important for them, given that we’ve seen the impact in ICU and hospitals.”

It comes after public health officials yesterday confirmed 1,725 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

As of 8am on Sunday morning, there were 473 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 97 are in ICU.

On Saturday, there were 2,427 new cases of Covid-19, 449 people with the virus in hospital and 93 in ICU.

McCallion said vaccination centres around the country will be retained ahead of the booster programme and to relieve pressure on GP practices. 

“Vaccine centres at the moment…the teams that are there are working through residential care as part of the first phase of the booster plan.

“We’re well advanced in that, in terms of people over 65 in long-term residential care. That programme will actually complete this week, and the over 80s then are being developed and worked out through our general practice.

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“Again, they’re very well advanced with over 110,000 out of 160,000 people over 80 years of age already boosted.”

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) yesterday said it is concerned that the Covid-19 infection rate among healthcare workers is moving in the “wrong direction”.

The union renewed its call for booster vaccines against the virus to be rolled out to frontline staff.

In response, McCallion this morning said there are around 1,800 healthcare wprkers out with either symptoms of Covid-19 or close contacts.

“Which is significant in terms of both the people themselves and the impact on the services they work in,” he said.

“Having said that, NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) provide the advice to us, they have provided the expertise, and they’ve served us well through this programme.

“We know that that’s being looked at intensively at the moment in terms of healthcare workers, being one of the next phases of the rollout.”

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