19 May 2022

LATEST: Call for vaccine boosters to be fast-tracked to Kildare people

HSE reports significant no-shows for booster vaccine


Calls have been made to fast-track vital booster vaccines across Kildare to help protect against new variants of Covid-19.

More restrictions could be on the way due to the emerging Omicron strain, and local TD and GP, Dr Cathal Berry, has called for increased capacity for testing and vaccinating.

Also requesting air filters for classrooms, Dr Berry said: “Covid-19 is like a moving target — we are constantly having to shift our focus.”

Latest available figures show an increasing incidence rate of the virus in many local communities.

There are dozens of new cases every day in areas around Naas, Newbridge, Clane, Kildare town and Athy.

There were 17 confirmed Covid-19 patients as well as two suspected cases in Naas General Hospital up to Tuesday night.

Dr Berry said: “We need to improve our testing capacity to find the virus in the community — so we need more pop-up testing facilities. We also need to scale-up the booster vaccine campaign. Punchestown Vaccination Centre needs to be open seven days a week to cater for patients.

“We have already figured out the logistics with the previous vaccination campaign so we just need to increase the staff to administer more jabs every day.”

Dr Berry also pointed out that the HSE infrastructure is already present to cater for high numbers of tests and vaccines.

He explained: “We have come a long way so far with this virus.
“We can achieve a lot in a short space of time because if you remember this time last year, we didn’t have enough vaccines and we had yet to administer the first vaccine.”

Dr Berry also called for hi-tech air filters in each classroom which can purify the air eight times every hour and help to remove harmful bacteria from the school environment.

Meanwhile, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), in the two-week period up to November 22, there were 455 confirmed cases in Naas Local Electoral Area (LEA) corresponding to a rate per 100,000 people of 1162.9.
This contrasts with the overall national rate per 100,000 people of 1,268.4.
In Newbridge LEA, there were 390 cases and a rate per 100,000 people of 1,099.1.
There were 308 cases in Clane LEA and a rate per 100,000 of 1,083.1.
In the Kildare Town LEA, where were 308 cases and a LEA rate per 100,000 of 1,198.4
In Athy LEA, there were 248 cases with an LEA rate per 100,000 of 934.4.
The HSE has reiterated requests for people not yet vaccinated to come forward for jabs.
Public health experts also urged everybody to avail of booster jabs when they become available to their age cohort.
A HSE spokesperson said: “We encourage everyone to avail of your booster dose, as it gives you the best protection from serious illness caused by Covid-19.”
Meanwhile, work to construct 12 isolation rooms on the grounds of Naas Hospital is to begin in December.
The facilities, which are designed to assist in the segregation of patients suspected of having Covid-19 or other illnesses, will take nine months to complete.

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