The high level of no-shows for booster appointments is “very disrespectful” to the workers at HSE mass vaccination centres, according to the Irish Medical Organisation.
The Taoiseach told the Dáil yesterday that just short of half the 180,000 booster appointments at HSE centres last week were not attended.
That came after just 80,000 people turned up to 208,000 booster appointments in the week beginning November 22nd.
It means there were around 215,000 no-shows for booster appointments in the past fortnight.
It remains unclear whether the no-shows are due to double bookings on the HSE system – with widespread reports of people being unable to cancel appointments on the system.
There are also reports of people being offered appointments after they had already received their jab.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the Chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s GP Committee Dr Denis McCauley said there are very few no-shows at general practice clinics.
“I think it is a respect thing as well,” he said. “People would be very loath to not turn up for a GP vaccine clinic because they know the GPs will know who they are the next time around.
“I think people need to realise that very soon the vaccines will take on a lot more promise so now is the time for there to be no messing at all.
“If you get a vaccine appointment, make sure that you go there rather than getting your hair done or going shopping or if it is a work thing, stay on the helpline to get a new appointment.
“Be respectful of the mass vaccination centres These are people who are working very hard and it is very disrespectful to have over 80,000 people not turn up in one week. It is not appropriate. You wouldn’t do it to your GP so why are you doing it to these healthcare workers also.”
Dr McCauley said there is now a worry some people are waiting to see what happens with the Omicron variant before getting their booster.
He said the booster will greatly reduce your chances of picking up the infection and, “more importantly having to go into hospital”.
He warned that, when more information about Omicron begins to come out, booster appointments may be harder to come by.
“I think we need a call to arms to get people to just do it,” he said. “Come on, we’ve got to actually do this.
“When we start hearing information about Omicron and people say, ‘God, I must get my booster,’ that is when the appointments might actually be short.
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