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Peter Gerry Earls from Sixmilebridge with vaccinator Catherine Fogarty at the vaccination centre in the West County Hotel in Ennis.

Two of three mass vaccination centres open ahead of schedule

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THE government’s vaccination programme may not be progressing as speedily as some hope, but there was good news this Wednesday when two of three mass vaccination centres in the region opened ahead of schedule, reports Dan Danaher.
New centres in Ennis and Nenagh opened this Wednesday, instead of next Monday as originally planned.
Along with the centre at the Radisson Blu, Meelick, the facilities form a tripartite vaccination network to accelerate the delivery of Covid-19 vaccine in the Mid-West.
Activity at the Ennis and Nenagh centres commenced with the 65-69-year-old group, who have been registering in considerable numbers since the opening of the HSE online registration portal last week.
Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals’ Group said the group is delighted to now open vaccination centres in Ennis and Nenagh a few days in advance of their initial planned date.
The portal and the phone line remain open for those aged 65 and over and we expect to start allocating appointment slots in our Mid-West vaccination centres to the younger age groups as the national plan progresses.”
With work ongoing at the Radisson Blu to vaccinate the Group Four cohort of patients at very high risk of serious illness from Covid-19, the opening of the Ennis and Nenagh centres coincides with the move to Group Five, people aged 65-69 at high risk, and Group Six, other people aged 65-69 in the Government’s list of Provisional Vaccine Allocation Groups.
People in the 65-69 group will be vaccinated using Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), in keeping with the strictest standards of safety and quality. It is recommended for use in people aged over 60 and licensed by regulators.
The HSE encourages everyone in the 65-69 patient cohort to register and attend for their vaccination appointment in order to enhance the effectiveness of the overall vaccination programme in minimising the transmission of the disease within our communities.
Dr Denis O’Keeffe, Consultant Haematologist at University Hospital Limerick, said the risk of falling seriously ill with Covid-19 was far greater than any risk that the AstraZeneca vaccine might present to those in the 65-69 age group.
“The evidence would suggest that the clotting incidences reported are an extremely rare complication.
“For patients in this age group, the risk from Covid-19 and the risk of clotting when you get sick with the disease, is significantly higher than the risk of clotting reported as associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
In relation to the approximately 800 people from the Group Four cohort aged under 60, whose vaccinations were cancelled this week, the HSE awaits further national guidance on alternative appointments.
People can register online at https://vaccine.hse.ie/, and they will be asked for their mobile phone number, email address, PPS number and Eircode.
Telephone registration is also available at HSELive on 1850-24-1850 for those unable to register online, and there are options for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Meanwhile the 14-day incidence of Covid-19 has increased slightly in Clare this week. Last week, the 14-day incidence of the virus fell to 37% in Clare, compared to 76% in Tipperary and 67% in Limerick.
There were 44 confirmed cases in Clare, 122 in Tipperary and 132 in Limerick from March 30 until April 12.
The latest figures from the National Disease Surveillance Centre shows the 14-day incidence rate in Clare went up marginally to 38.7%, it fell in Tipperary to 62% and jumped to 88% in Limerick.
According to official statistics, there were 46 cases in Clare, 100 in Tipperary and 173 in Limerick from April 6 to April 19.

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