Further 1,098 cases of Covid-19 confirmed as 10,000 attend first day of walk-in vaccination centres

HSE chief reports high numbers attending a ‘good indicator’ of vaccine uptake among younger age group

 General view of a queue inside the vaccination  centre at Citywest in Dublin  on Sunday. Photograph: Collins

General view of a queue inside the vaccination centre at Citywest in Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Collins

 

A further 1,098 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed on Sunday afternoon by the national Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

There are also 163 patients being treated in hospital for the disease - one less than on Saturday, and 26 Covid patients remain in ICU.

Earlier it was confirmed around 10,000 people attended walk-in Covid-19 vaccination centres across the country on Saturday, with a high uptake for vaccines seen among older teenagers.

Paul Reid, HSE chief executive, said some 10,000 people availed of walk-in vaccination clinics on their first day of operation.

The walk-in centres will operate over the bank holiday weekend, providing first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to anyone aged 16 and above, who has not yet been vaccinated.

More than half of those who were vaccinated in walk-in centres on Saturday were 16 and 17 years of age, Mr Reid said.

Paul Reid visited a walk-in vaccination centre in Athlone Institute of Technology on Sunday where he spoke to a number of young people queuing to receive the vaccine. File photograph: Leon Farrell/ Photocall Ireland
Paul Reid visited a walk-in vaccination centre in Athlone Institute of Technology on Sunday where he spoke to a number of young people queuing to receive the vaccine. File photograph: Leon Farrell/ Photocall Ireland

In total over two thirds of the 10,000 people vaccinated in the clinics were 19 years old or younger, he said.

However, vaccinators reported people of “all ages” turning up, including one 83-year-old who attended a walk-in centre in Sligo, he said.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Reid said the high levels of younger people attending the vaccination clinics was a “good indicator” of uptake among the age cohort.

Around 5,000 people given their first doses in walk-in clinics had not been registered on the HSE’s portal to book vaccine appointments, he said.

There was “strong evidence” the walk-in centres were working successfully to attract younger people to get vaccinated, he said.

A queue outside the vaccination centre at Citywest in Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Collins
A queue outside the vaccination centre at Citywest in Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Collins
People queue outside a walk-in vaccination centre at the National Show Centre in Swords, Dublin, on Sunday. Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA Wire
People queue outside a walk-in vaccination centre at the National Show Centre in Swords, Dublin, on Sunday. Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

Rural areas

On Sunday Mr Reid visited a walk-in vaccination centre in Athlone Institute of Technology, where he spoke to a number of young people queuing to receive the vaccine.

“They’re all just saying they want to be protected, and get back to normal, that’s the strong theme coming through,” Mr Reid said.

Several vaccination centres in rural areas reported high numbers availing of the walk-in option. “It wasn’t just good uptake in urban areas,” he said.

Walk-in centres in popular staycation spots, such as Co Kerry, saw a lot of people coming in with Dublin registered cars, indicating young people may be availing of the walk-in option while on holiday.

Around 25 walk-in vaccination clinics will be operating on Monday, Mr Reid said.

In recent days the Republic has overtaken the UK in terms of the progress of the vaccination rollout, with over 72 per cent of adults now fully vaccinated.

It is expected the vaccination programme for the 12 to 15-year-old age cohort will commence this month, in mass vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies.

Communions and Confirmations

Separately, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, has told priests that Communions and Confirmations may go ahead in the diocese from mid-August.

In a statement, Bishop Cullinan said there had been “large crowds congregating at all kinds of venues” in recent weeks, including thousands of spectators being permitted into sporting events.

“I can see no valid reason for the further postponement of the sacraments for our children. The communication from the Government and from Nphet regarding the sacraments leaves a great deal to be desired,” he said.

Any local priest or parish that wished to hold Communions and Confirmations “must be allowed to do so,” he said.

The statement follows similar indications from other dioceses that they will push ahead to hold the ceremonies, despite current Government public health advice stating they should not take place at present.

The Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran told parish priests in his diocese last week that they can proceed with Communions and Confirmations in the coming weeks despite the ban on such religious services.

In a statement, the Diocese of Clogher, said Bishop of Clogher Larry Duffy had decided too the celebration of Communion and Confirmations may take place in its parishes in the Republic from 20th August.

Martin Long, a spokesman for the Catholic bishops, said there was no centralised policy or approach to Communions and Confirmations.

“The responsibility for ministering the sacraments rests with individual diocese bishops and their local parish priests,” he said.

Winding down

Meanwhile five more people have died with Covid 19 in the North, as more than 1,000 new cases were detected.

After eight deaths were reported on Saturday, it brings to 13 the number of notifications over the weekend of deaths linked to the virus.

The death toll since the start of the pandemic has risen to 2,194.

Stormont’s Department of Health also reported a further 1,072 people had tested positive for the disease over a 24 hour period up to Sunday afternoon.

Latest figures for Saturday show 232 people with Covid 19 in hospitals, 32 of whom are in intensive care.

With 2,262,641 vaccines administered in total, the North is winding down its mass vaccination programme.

Health Minister Robin Swann said the large centres - including Belfast’s SSE Arena and leisure centres around the region - could not be commandeered forever and healthcare staff were badly needed back at normal duties.

Over the weekend, mass vaccination centres closed for first jabs, except for a small group of under 18s and children aged 12 to 15 years old who live with someone who is immunosuppressed.

First jabs will continue at “pop-up mobile clinics” travelling across the region over the coming weeks - offering both the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines - and at pharmacies, which are offering the AstraZeneca inoculation to the over 40s.

Around 16 pharmacies are also offering the Moderna vaccine for anyone aged 18 and over.

Paediatricians are working to identify children aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions who will also be offered vaccination.

The North’s Covid-19 vaccination certificate system, which allows people to prove they have been vaccinated when travelling to other countries, also resumed on Sunday after it was taken off-line for a number of days.

A data breach, which may have allowed some users to see other people’s personal details, forced officials to temporarily suspend applications.

The Department of Health urged only those travelling up to Tuesday to apply, as it deals with a backlog.

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