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HSE working to iron out issues in booster vaccine rollout amid 'disrespectful' no-shows

Vivienne Clarke

The HSE’s chief operations officer, Anne O’Connor has acknowledged the challenge facing the vaccination campaign in “joining up the dots” between the three different channels offering booster vaccines.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland Ms O’Connor explained the booster vaccine was available through vaccination centres, GPs and pharmacies and that the HSE is now trying to amend the system.

She explained some people had gone to their local pharmacy to get their booster vaccine and had subsequently received an appointment at a vaccination centre. However, Ms O'Connor called on members of the public to cancel their vaccination centre appointment if they had received their booster through their GP or pharmacy.

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In response to reports of a high volume of people not showing up to receive their booster jab, the chair of the Irish Medical Organisation's GP committee, Dr Denis McCauley described it as "very disrespectful".

He added there were very few no-shows at GP surgeries, which he said may be on account of people knowing their GP personally.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Dr McCauley said now was not the time for "messing" in regards to the vaccine.

Five-month wait

When asked about the lower levels of people in the 60-69 cohort who have received their booster vaccine, Ms O’Connor pointed out that not everyone in the age group would have had their second vaccine more than five months ago, as is necessary.

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That was “a natural limiter,” she explained.

She added that people were possibly apprehensive or busier now that they may be back at work or preparing for Christmas.

Ms O'Connor confirmed that over one million people have received their booster vaccine to date, adding that appointments for people in the 50-59 cohort will begin to be offered from Thursday.

"It's really important, especially with a new variant, that we try to protect as many people as possible," she said.

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