Freshers’ Week will this year be followed by a new rite of passage at a number of college campuses across Ireland – the Department of Further and Higher Education’s “Vaccination Week”.
Pop-up Covid-19 vaccination centres will be set up next week at 11 third-level colleges across the country.
The centres aim to boost uptake among both domestic and international students, and will offer students and staff a first or second dose.
The walk-in clinics will operate at the following institutions:
- University College Cork
- NUI Galway
- Trinity College Dublin
- University of Limerick
- Dublin City University
- Maynooth University
- Munster Technological University Cork
- Mary Immaculate College
- Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
- National College of Art and Design
- Athlone Institute of Technology (Technological University of the Shannon from October 1st)
In addition, clinics already operating in University College Dublin, Letterkenny, Sligo and Waterford Institutes of Technology will be open to walk-ins from students and staff during “Vaccination Week”.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said: "Next week, thousands of students will start college for the first time. It is an incredibly exciting time for our third level sector.
"To coincide with this, my Department and the HSE have been working together to ensure we are doing everything we can to make our third level campuses as safe as is possible.
"There is no greater protection from Covid-19 than the vaccine. We have already seen a great uptake from young people and Vaccination Week offers anyone who hasn’t received their first or second dose to seek protection."
David Walsh, HSE Work Stream Lead Vaccination Process and Workforce, said: "We have been working with the Department to maximise the vaccine uptake in those who have not yet availed of vaccination, including international students, as thousands of students return to college this month.
"Our focus will be on accessibility and positive promotion of vaccination on campus.
"We will provide temporary walk-in vaccination clinics in a number of pop vaccination clinics across the country to ensure the maximum take up across the student population and continue to build on the gains already achieved with the vaccine programme."
In addition, free face masks will be distributed to over 200 locations nationwide over the coming weeks.