Walk-in booster vaccination clinics to open for people aged 60 to 69

Department of Health said 4,764 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Thursday

     The HSE said that mass vaccination centres would open to those over 50 who are over five months since their second dose.

The HSE said that mass vaccination centres would open to those over 50 who are over five months since their second dose.

 

The HSE has started offering walk-in clinics for Covid-19 booster vaccines to people in their 60s and to healthcare workers at designated times through its vaccination centres.

In a speed-up of the booster programme, the walk-in clinics will be available to eligible groups once it has been at least five months since their second dose of a Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca jab in their initial vaccinations, or three months since the individual received the single Janssen vaccine.

It comes as the Department of Health said that there have been 4,764 confirmed cases of Covid-19. As of 8am today, 598 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 126 are in ICU.

Drogheda remained the State’s worst affected area for Covid-19 for the second week in a row, despite the rate of infections dropping in the Co Louth town last week.

There were 618 infections in the town, giving it an incidence rate of 2,234 per 100,000 people, according to the infection rate for the two-week period to last Monday. This is almost double the national average of 1,268 per 100,000 and equates to one in every 45 people in Drogheda being infected with the disease.

Two other areas around Drogheda, the Laytown-Bettystown local electoral area to the south of the town, and the rural electoral area located just north Drogheda were also among the five worst affected areas in the State.

Damien McCallion, the HSE’s national lead for vaccinations and testing, said that many of the 470,000 people in their 60s will only become eligible for boosters over the coming weeks.

The walk-in clinics will allow the HSE to administer booster doses more quickly. Details of the times and locations of the walk-in vaccinations are available on the HSE’s website.

“We are very conscious that life has moved on for many people and it isn’t always possible for people to come forward on an appointment basis,” he told the weekly HSE briefing.

Turned away

Mr McCallion said that people will be turned away from vaccination centres if they are not in one of the eligible groups and five months have not elapsed since their second primary dose.

The HSE has been offering appointments by calling people in their 60s to receive their booster jabs at vaccination centres and has vaccinated about 48,000 people so far.

GPs may also refer some people aged 70 years and over to vaccination centres for boosters.

UL Hospitals Group said vaccinators will open Walk-In Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Clinics for 60-69-year-olds this weekend, and continue to run separate walk-in clinics for anyone in the mid-west who has not yet received their primary first or second doses.

The clinics for 60-69s will be held at Limerick Racecourse this coming Sunday between 8.15am and 6pm, and continue on Monday at the former OPD at Ennis Hospital, and the Abbey Court Hotel in Nenagh.

The booster vaccination programme is currently being offered to people aged 60 and over, residents of long-term residential care facilities and healthcare workers.

Third vaccine doses are being given to about 100,000 immunocompromised people.

The Government has agreed to extend booster doses to about 620,000 people aged between 50 and 59 but they will only start receiving booster doses from mid-December, the HSE said.

Mr McCallion said that the HSE expected to start administering booster doses to the medically vulnerable people next week. There are an estimated 489,000 people in this group, but this includes immunocompromised people, almost 75,000 of whom have already received third doses.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said that about 600,000 booster doses have been administered so far. There were about 192,000 vaccines administered last week.

He said the HSE would step up to between 200,000 and 250,000 boosters a week and eventually 270,000 a week through GPs and pharmacies but primarily through vaccination centres.

Mr Reid said that there were currently 598 people in hospital with Covid-19 - down 7 per cent on last week. This included 126 in intensive care units. There have been 395 admissions of Covid-19 patients to hospital over the past seven days, up 29 per cent on the previous week.

Mr Reid said that it was “extremely challenging” dealing with the demand for Covid-19 tests and he appreciated the frustration felt by people waiting for tests.

The HSE is preparing to open three more Covid-19 testing centres and is adding more mobile testing teams to meet the unprecedented demand from the public during this surge in infections, he added.

Mr McCallion said that people in their 70s and 80s have been receiving booster doses through their GPs but that the vaccination centres would start “to get moving” as the number of people becoming eligible for the boosters jabs increases significantly over the coming weeks.

Most people in their 60s and 70s would become eligible for boosters before Christmas, he said. He could not provide a figure on the number who would have to wait until after Christmas.

Asked about what people in older age groups should do at Christmas if they haven’t received their vaccine boosters, HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said that the general advice for everyone was to reduce their contacts and follow basic health measures over the coming weeks.

Separately, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health said that a further five people with Covid-19 have died there and 1,549 additional cases have been confirmed.

A total of 396 patients are receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19, with 35 in intensive care.

Meanwhile, the latest official figures on coronavirus deaths from the HSE show a further 18 people died from Covid-19 last week.

This brings to 5,652 the number of deaths from the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic, according to the weekly report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The HPSC said that the 18 deaths were people who died between November 17th and 23rd and do not include deaths reported during that period but with an earlier date of death.

Additional deaths occurring during the past week may yet be reported to the HPSC, the HSE unit that tracks the extent and impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the State.

The National Public Health Emergency Team said on Wednesday that there were 43 newly notified deaths related to Covid-19 over the past week. This figure includes deaths with an earlier date of death prior to the previous week.

The HPSC figures show the number of weekly deaths has fallen steadily over the past three weeks, from 25 in the first week of November to 22 in the second week of the month.

The mean age of the most recent deaths was 63 and the median age was 66.

Fourth wave

In this fourth wave of the pandemic, there have been 112 deaths from Covid-19 in the Republic this month, compared with 198 during the month of October and 175 in September.

Of the total 5,652 deaths during the pandemic, 3,017 - or 53 per cent - have been men and 2,635 - or 47 per cent - have been women. Some 85 per cent had an underlying health condition.

Just over 11 per cent, or 656 people who died, had been admitted to intensive care.

Where their working status was known, 19 of the people who died were healthcare workers.

The majority of the deaths have been in older age groups, with 41 per cent of fatalities occurring among those aged 85 and over, 33 per cent in the 75- to 84-year-old age group and 16 per cent in the 65- to 74-year-old age group.

People ranging in age from 14 to 105 had died from the virus. Some 1.2 per cent of deaths, or 66 people, were people aged 44 and younger. Overall, the median age was 82 and mean age was 80.