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'Inspiring weekend' for vaccination programme as 18,000 people avail of walk-in centres so far

The 26 centres are open today.

Image: PA

WALK-IN vaccination centres are open again in 26 locations today after a hugely successful weekend of the programme.

The bank holiday weekend was chosen as the weekend to hold temporary walk-in centres across the country. The demand for the centres was high, with more than 18,000 people being vaccinated so far.

HSE chief Paul Reid described the initiative as a “huge success”, saying this weekend was an “inspiring” one for the vaccination programme. 

Speaking to Morning Ireland on RTÉ, he said it was part of the HSE’s strategy to “surge uptake best we can” in the last few weeks.

By means of comparison, he said that 2.1 million vaccination doses were given in the past six weeks, compared to one million doses across the first 12 weeks in the first quarter of the year. 

PastedImage-25992 Source: Twitter

Reid said that such was the success of the initiative that the HSE is going to consider the use of walk-in centres at targeted times looking forward, particularly with the uptake from younger people.

Brian MacCraith, the chair of the High Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination, shared some updated vaccination statistics this morning. He said that 5.87m doses have been administered to date, and while 87% of adults have received at least one dose, 73% of adults are fully vaccinated. 

PastedImage-61211 Source: Twitter

12-15 vaccination

There are around 280,000 people aged 12-15 in Ireland, and vaccination will soon be available to them. Reid said that the HSE is finalising three issues around this – for starters, how consent is managed, which he said is a key issue. 

The second issue is communications, and finally, significant changes need to be made to the HSE’s IT system to help capture guardians’/parents’ details alongside the individuals’ details. 

It’s expected that the date of rollout for this age group will be made toward the end of next week or the week after. 

Reid said that they are hoping to involve GPs and pharmacies as well as vaccination centres in the rollout.

With secondary schools due to return in August, Reid said the intention is “to work through this really quickly and efficiently”. 

He praised young people, who he said have played a big role “in such a changing environment”.

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The HSE is now looking at the role of the vaccination centres going forward, particularly with the rollout of booster vaccinations. He said it does “see a role” for them, but probably not at the same scale they are open now. 

Meanwhile, Reid said the health service is still concerned about slowly rising Covid-19 cases in hospital.

He said there hasn’t been a significant change in the age range of those in ICU: of the 26 people in ICU this morning, 22 are aged 50+ while the remaining four are aged between 19 and 30. 

Some analysis of those hospitalised shows that about 22% of those in ICU have been vaccinated and the remaining 78% are unvaccinated, but Reid urged caution in extrapolating a wider trend from this.

He said this is something the HSE will monitor closely. 

This weekend also saw Ireland overtake the UK in terms of the percentage of adults fully vaccinated. 

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