HSE in north-west contacting members of public at short notice to use surplus Covid-19 vaccine supply

Texts sent to public after surplus vaccines left over from weekend clinics

Boots Dundalk now offering a Travel Vaccination Service

Vaccination centres have standby lists for surplus vaccines

The Health Service Executive is texting members of the public to be vaccinated with just hours notice to use up supplies of Covid-19 vaccine.

One Donegal worker who lives in Co Leitrim but is registered with a GP in Donegal was called to receive a vaccine at the vaccination centre at Sligo IT on Monday after receiving a text on Sunday night.

The woman was initially concerned the text was a fake or a clerical error and only accepted the appointment after contacting the HSE on Monday morning.

She is now urging people who receive such a text to take it seriously and take the opportunity to get vaccinated.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, said she is not in any of the cohorts who are being vaccinated under the vaccine rollout at present.

She received the text, which did not refer to her by name, at 8pm on Sunday asking her to attend for vaccination after midday on Monday.

“I Googled it and there were mixed messages on boards. Some people said it was a scam - I was not sure what to do,” she said.

“I thought it was a fake or a scam. I rang the HSE and they said it sounded genuine as it was not looking for information.”

When she arrived for her vaccination she said the centre was packed, with people in all age groups waiting to be vaccinated.

“When I got there I was told they had a big batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine and there were a lot of no-shows and they had been going through a list to get as many people as possible vaccinated. There was a huge range of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

“A lot of people might get the text and then think it is a fake or a scam and not react to it. If people do get that message it is genuine. It is worth it if you do get one to take it seriously.”

The HSE said it is arranging vaccination appointments for people in group 4 – those aged 16-69 at very high risk of severe Covid-19 disease and those with underlying conditions which put them at a high risk of severe disease and death.

“Group 4 is a complex group comprising patients and service users with many different illnesses and specific clinical criteria and treatments.,” the HSE said.

“Many of the people in group 4 attend a hospital specialist regularly. Hospitals are working on identifying as many people as they can and are forwarding lists compiled by the consultant teams to the vaccination centres, which then issue the invitations with appointment times.

“In the event of surplus doses remaining at the end of a clinic, the vaccination centres have standby lists of frontline healthcare workers and high-risk people in group 4 who may be contacted at short notice.

“As far as possible patients are allocated an appointment in their local vaccination centre however there can be instances where an address is out of date – for example a student’s college address – and in that event the person can text back the number provided in the message to rearrange a vaccination appointment in their local vaccination centre.”

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