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Young people flock to walk-in COVID-19 vaccination centres

DUBLIN: HSE chief executive Paul Reid has confirmed that 10,000 young people were vaccinated at walk-in COVID-19 vaccination centres nationwide on Saturday. It is believed that the convenience of getting the vaccine without pre-registration has attracted young people.

According to health officials, the majority of those currently infected with COVID-19 in Ireland are under the age of 34. The participation of young people in vaccination programme was also low. This pushed the HSE to consider opening walk-in vaccination clinics across the country.

Around 40 such centres were open, with majority of them already operational on Friday and Saturday, and a few others set to open today. Those attending the centres will receive a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Majority of those attended walk-in centers were teenagers

Of the 10,000 people availed of walk-in centers, 5,000 were not registered on the HSE portal, Paul Reid said. Two-thirds of those vaccinated here are under 19 years of age. “There were people across all ages coming through, with one 83-year-old coming into our centre in Sligo,” he said.

The HSE had intended to run these centres only during the bank holiday weekend. But given their success, Mr Reid said they hope to use the facility in a “targeted” manner.

A total of 5.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ireland, with 73% of adults fully vaccinated and 87% partially vaccinated with a single dose.

Mr Reid also said that a booster dose was being considered for increased protection, and that a decision was taken to administer it alongside flu vaccines. The HSE will seek advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has confirmed 1,098 new COVID-19 cases in the country. There are 163 patients at the hospital with the disease, including 26 in the intensive care unit.

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