Pharmacies ask to be part of vaccine booster campaign

ireland
Pharmacies Ask To Be Part Of Vaccine Booster Campaign Pharmacies Ask To Be Part Of Vaccine Booster Campaign
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) this week approved the extension of Covid-19 booster shots to people over the age of 60. Photography: Conor Healy / Picture It Photography
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Vivienne Clarke

Pharmacists should be involved in the rollout of the booster vaccine campaign, the general-secretary of the Irish Pharmacy Union has said.

Darragh O’Loughlin said pharmacists had been included in the original plans as vaccinators but were not included until the summer.

“When we did start vaccinating we saw tremendous demand from people to get their vaccine in a local pharmacy - pharmacies were inundated with people looking to get vaccinated,” he told Newstalk’s Breakfast Briefing.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) this week approved the extension of Covid-19 booster shots to people over the age of 60.

A number of prominent GPs have criticised the HSE’s plan to rely on family doctors for administering boosters to older patients.

However, plans announced on Wednesday did not contain any reference to pharmacies, Mr O’Loughlin said.

Flu season

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Navan GP Ruairí Hanley said the system “cannot cope” with providing boosters to everyone aged over 60 in the coming months.

“That will simply prove impossible in the context of flu season and the existing pressures on the system,” he told The Irish Times on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mr O’Loughlin said it would make perfect sense for pharmacies to be involved in the booster programme as there are 1,000 pharmacies in the country delivering the vaccine every week with people still coming forward every day to get vaccinated.

“It makes no sense that as we move into the booster phase of the programme we wouldn’t be involved in delivering those boosters”.

“It looks like GPs are going to be expected to pick up the bulk of the work - despite the fact that the GP system is already under such pressure - and vaccination centres will be used as well.

“We obviously aren’t saying vaccination centres shouldn’t be used, and we aren’t saying GPs shouldn’t be involved.

“We’re just saying that in a programme of this size and a campaign of this size, where we will want 800,000 people between the ages of 60 upwards to get vaccinated with a booster dose, it makes no sense to exclude 1,000 vaccination locations around the country”.

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