The HSE has confirmed that people are being offered multiple booster appointments due to an issue with the vaccine programme’s IT system.
In a statement, the HSE said patients are being offered HSE booster appointments after they have already been jabbed at their GP or pharmacy.
The Health Service said GPs and Pharmacies operate on different IT systems to the HSE programme – and it can take as long as two days for one system to notify the other.
It said this can result in multiple appointments “from time to time”.
“We have continued to improve the IT system that operates for the Vaccination Programme,” it said.
“As GPs and Pharmacies operate on different IT systems there may be a gap in notification of the vaccination which can, from time to time, result in multiple appointments.
“Once the vaccination is put on the system, any previous appointments issued from the Vaccination Centres will be cancelled by the HSE.”
It comes after the Taoiseach told the Dáil on Tuesday that just short of half the 180,000 booster appointments scheduled 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 how many of 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.
The HSE said there are now three ways for people to cancel bookings when they are offered to them.
- You can reply to the appointment text message stating NEW (if you want to reschedule) or REJECT (if you are vaccinated or do not want to take up the booster)
- Complete an online form on HSE.ie
- Telephone HSELive on 1800 700 700 or 00 353 1 240 8787(from outside Ireland)
“In order to give people maximum opportunity to get a booster and to use all capacity in the programme we are using Vaccination Centres, GP’s and Pharmacies as vaccination channels,” said the HSE.
“This can mean that people will occasionally get appointments from multiple sources, or indeed after already been vaccinated.
“While steps have been taken to minimise this, it is inevitable this will occur, but our priority is to ensure we give people maximum choices to get vaccinated.”
It urged anyone who is offered an appointment they don’t need to contact the service immediately.
Up to now, one million booster vaccines have been administered around the country.
Main image shows long queues of people outside the Croke Park walk-in vaccine centre, 30-11-2021. Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews