READY AND WAITING Paul Hooton, Clinical Lead for the roll-out of the vaccination programme, expects the Breaffy centre to become extremely busy in the coming weeks. Pic: Conor McKeown
Clinical Lead confident roll-out will be ‘ramped up’
UP TO 3,000 people a day will receive their Covid-19 jabs at the Mayo Vaccination Centre in Breaffy in the coming weeks.
That was the very positive news delivered by Paul Hooton, Clinical Lead for the roll-out of the vaccination programme in Mayo, when he spoke to The Mayo News yesterday afternoon (Monday). Mr Hooton also admitted there had been a downturn in numbers turning up for their vaccinations last week after the AstraZeneca roll-out was paused momentarily, but said confidence is now being returned.
“The centre at Breaffy certainly did experience a fall-off last week, but I cannot say for certain what that was down to. Some people may have been double-booked, others may not have fitted the criteria and of course, some people were probably apprehensive about the vaccine. It would be very hard to draw proper analysis from it at the moment.
“There’s a wonderful uptake on the registration portal since it went live on Thursday, which indicates people have confidence again and are determined to get their vaccines as soon as possible,” Mr Hooton stated.
Up until now people have been mainly getting vaccinated in their GP surgeries or in Mayo University Hospital, but the Breaffy centre will soon take centre stage. There are 25 booths kitted out there, which will allow approximately 250 vaccinations per hour and Mr Hooton says the facility can run for 12 hours per day.
“Breaffy is our main vaccination centre and that’s where the majority of our people will receive their jab. Then it depends whether we run 10 or 12 hours a day and five or seven days a week. The good news is that the facility is there and the workforce is certainly there to deal with all the vaccine supplies we have at the moment. We’re ready to go right now and will be really ramping things up this week. We expect to be at full capacity in the next week or two.
“Once we get into the summer and we get into big numbers of vaccines coming in we will have to make sure we have the right workforce in place to deal with the numbers and I’m very confident we’ll have everything in place to handle it,” Mr Hooton explained.
The vast geographical spread of Mayo means that some will have to travel long distances to get to Breaffy and this has created discussion about the possibility of alternative centres in the regions.
“At this moment in time, it’s just Breaffy. There are conversations about additional satellite centres, but those conversations haven’t made any great progress yet, so I cannot say any more than we’re looking at them.
“As we increase the vaccination supply into May and June there may very well be a need from a capacity perspective, to look at alternatives alongside Breaffy and we also recognise that having one big centre may make it difficult for people given how rural we are, but there are no solid plans yet,” he added, before offering positive advice to anyone a little apprehensive about the AstraZeneca vaccine
“Let’s be honest, there have been concerns, but if you’re aged over 60 the chances of getting Covid and dying from it is far, far, far greater than any minute risk of getting a clot from taking the vaccine.
“So, without a shadow of a doubt, get your AstraZeneca, get your vaccine, get safe because the virus is out there, it’s still circulating and you’re not immune to it yet. Just because numbers have gone down in the community and there’s good news around that, it hasn’t gone away. The only way people can protect themselves is to follow the guidelines already there and get your vaccine as soon as it becomes available.”