Pharmacists to help identify those who have yet to be vaccinated

More than 370,000 people are either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated

‘All the public health messaging that we are getting on a daily basis does not necessarily penetrate immigrant communities,’ says pharmacy union secretary general. Photograph: iStock

‘All the public health messaging that we are getting on a daily basis does not necessarily penetrate immigrant communities,’ says pharmacy union secretary general. Photograph: iStock

 

Pharmacists will be involved in a campaign to target the remaining adults who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Some 92 per cent of the adult population of the State is vaccinated, but the unvaccinated population is disproportionately represented in those who end up in hospital or in intensive care units.

They represent approximately 370,000 people.

On Friday, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said they were working with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) to identify areas or social settings where there are low levels of vaccine uptake.

IPU secretary general Darragh O’Loughlin said there may be clusters of unvaccinated people in Border counties, but also in settings such as meat plants, where a large number of the workforce are immigrants.

Mr O’Loughlin said pharmacists in those areas will be opening their doors to unvaccinated people while also displaying information in foreign languages encouraging those who are unvaccinated to get the jabs.

Outreach

“All the public health messaging that we are getting on a daily basis does not necessarily penetrate immigrant communities,” he said.

“We want to target those people in their own languages and use specific outreach programmes.

“Some people are from countries where you don’t want to be known to the government if you can avoid it all.”

He said the information would be emphasising that immigrants can get the vaccination regardless of their work status in the country.

Mr O’Loughlin said the best estimates suggest that half of the remaining unvaccinated people are “anti-vaxxers”, who are not open to persuasion about getting the vaccine.

“People who have been hesitant or nervous about the vaccine have probably been vaccinated at this stage,” he said.

“We did see a lot of people coming forward who were part of the cohort who were vaccinated early, but they were nervous and got a lot of reassurance in the pharmacy.

“There are others who have bought into the misinformation. We are trying to give people the correct information, but unfortunately there are falsehoods and lies on social media. It is very difficult to target those people to be honest.”