Booster appointment no-shows "disrespectful" to vaccination centre staff, says IMO
The Taoiseach told the Dáil that thousands have missed their appointment for a booster vaccine.
The reported high levels of people missing booster vaccine appointments is "very disrespectful" to vaccination centre staff, a representative of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said.
It comes as Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil on Tuesday that 208,000 appointments were offered to eligible people in the week beginning 22 November, but only 80,000 of those arrived to receive the booster.
He also said 180,000 appointments were offered last week, but 93,000 of those arrived.
That said, it is unclear if those no-shows are mostly down to double bookings on the HSE system.
Appearing on Newstalk Breakfast, Chair of the IMO GP Committee Dr Denis McCauley said he was surprised and disappointed by the reports of the high percentage of no-shows.
He stated that while Ireland's booster uptake has been excellent, perhaps a reason for people missing appointments is that they feel there is less urgency to receive a booster than previous Covid-19 vaccine injections.
McCauley also said GP practices were seeing very few no-shows.
“I think it's a respect thing as well. I think they would be very loath to not turn up for a GP vaccine clinic because they know the GPs," he explained.
“I think people have to realise that very soon the vaccine will take on a lot more prominence so it's sort of a time... for there to be no messing at all.
“If you get a vaccine [appointment], make sure that you go there rather than get your hair done... or go shopping or if it's a work-related thing, stay on the helpline to get a new vaccine [appointment].
“Be respectful of the mass vaccination centres. These are people who are working very hard and it's very disrespectful to have over 80,000 people not turn up.
"I think it's not appropriate. You wouldn’t do it to your GP so why are you doing it to these healthcare workers also.”
McCauley encouraged people to get a booster vaccine before more is known about Omicron because by that point, appointments may be more difficult to book.
"Whether it's this variant or the next variant, the vaccine will be the potential cornerstone of preventing getting the infection, and more importantly having to go into hospital.
“I think it's the time to call to arms and get people to just do it.
“When we start hearing information about Omicron and people say, ‘God, I must get my vaccine,’ that's when the appointments might actually be short."